WOM Tip #171: Buy cookies, not commercials

When you’re launching something new, you could buy billboards and ads all over town — or you could pump someone’s gas, pay for some lady’s lunch, and foot the bill for some guy’s dry cleaning (and 100 other acts of kindness). Choose altruism over advertising and you just might experience an outpour of community love that spreads the word better than any traditional marketing campaign.

It even works for boring stuff like credit unions. Iowa’s Veridian Credit Union, for example, created a “Surprise Squad” to build anticipation for the grand opening of their new branch in the town of Coralville, IA.

This team did remarkable things in their community, like handing out tokens to kids at a carousel, bringing cookies to local librarians, and even paying for one family’s deductible to repair their car. After each good deed, the Surprise Squad would give the recipients Veridian Credit Union’s business card.

That’s how you make a business card worth more than a bunch of ads — and it’s also how you build incredible community relationships.

Learn more: The Surprise Squad

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