Trendwatching.com published its list of key consumer trends for 2011. On the same list you could spot two very human elements: random acts of kindness, consumers craving for kindness and being surprised in a positive way and emerging genorisity, giving, donating, sharing and sympathizing vs just selling and taking.
In other words, brands are expected to act humble, personal, showing compassion and understanding customers daily challenges. This is nothing new. But my guess is that the deeds expected from companies will no longer be big bursts of sponsorships and donations but they can be small things, generating daily goodwill. They do not need to be just donations but simple gentlemanlike acts towards customers.
Personal experiences from service economy. For the first time in my life I ordered two dresses from two different online stores. The other one was more expensive. Dress was sent as promised and was ok. The other dress was sent also as promised. With the dress came a small branded bag and the dress was on a hanger. I was so surprised.
I guess best branded deeds will be notes and messages from companies in unexpected moments. Monthly newsletters are nowdays normal. But what about personalized messages. Those that you get on birthdays and on special occasions, personalized to your orders and needs. Most companies admire Amazon for being able to track persons purchasing history and being able to make recommendations for customers´s interests. How could you do the same in industrial engineering?
Finnish brand committee´s report for branding Finland was showing similar kinds of elements of showing generosity. The committee proposed various missions for Finns for keeping up and building Finnish brand. One mission was for school children to talk to more quiet classmates. What could be my company´s small deed to providing better happiness to our customers?