3 small changes that start big conversations

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You don’t always have to do something dramatic to start conversations. You might be surprised to find it’s the little things that your customers are talking about the most.

Here are some seemingly small things that had a big impact on word of mouth for their brands:

1. Restaurant buzzers
2. Cinnamon sticks
3. Paint names

1. Restaurant buzzers

When have you heard anything good about waiting in a hospital? If you’ve been to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, you probably have something nice to say, and it’s not just about a short wait time or knowledgeable staff. When you sign in to Vanderbilt, they hand you a buzzer (like the ones you get at restaurants) to let you know when they can see you. In the meantime, you can hang out in the lounge, get a bite to eat, and make yourself comfortable. That’s a small change in the way your hospital visit goes that’s worth telling a friend about.

Think about how your customer feels the moment they walk through your door. What part of their experience can you make better?

2. Cinnamon sticks

Your regulars already love you, but after their new-customer enthusiasm wears off, they’ll need a new reason to keep advocating for your company. Penzey’s Spices keeps things fresh by introducing their customers to new spices. With every package they ship, they stuff it with surprise spices (like cinnamon sticks) in addition to the customer’s order.

It not only looks great, but this little addition to their shipping method gives every customer — both new and old — something to talk about with each order.

3. Paint names

With colors like Ballerina Slipper, Romance, and Crystal Glimmer, CIL Paints realized their paint chip names typically targeted a female audience and made some male customers less enthusiastic about their stuff. So to get more men interested in their products, CIL Paints held a contest to rename their paint chips with more “manly” alternatives like Bacon, Black Eye, and Cement.

The small change to their paint names (even if only temporary) made for a great word of mouth topic — plus, it opened up conversations with a previously alienated audience.


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