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Getting Personal in 2013
By: Kevin Weaver
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It's a new year and that means it's time to act on the resolutions we gave ourselves. For most people, January 1 means starting over with a clean slate. It's that time of year when we promise ourselves to lose a few pounds, read that book we've been unable to get to, or simply make an effort to call up those friends we haven't seen in a long time and take them to dinner. But individuals aren't the only ones who make resolutions for the new year. Businesses strive to be better, too. Whether it's to operate more efficiently, cut costs, or increase market share, brands view the new year much like you and me. 

Efficiency and reduced costs are beneficial to the company's bottom line, but how exactly do they help the customer? Companies are always seeking new ways to improve their brand image and end up spending plenty of money in advertising to do so. There is, however, a way for companies to improve brand image, cut costs, and still satisfy consumers. All they have to do is go the extra mile.

Going the extra mile for consumers does not have to be a laborious or expensive process. Two brands who have done this recently are LEGO and L.L. Bean. LEGO received positive publicity after a young boy wrote them a letter explaining how he had been saving his money for two years to purchase a certain LEGO set that was ultimately discontinued. LEGO's corporate office was so touched by the story that they sent the boy the toy set and wrote him a personalized note expressing their appreciation of his passion for their products. This resulted in the boy's mother making a home video of him opening the package from LEGO, which went viral shortly after.

L.L. Bean took it one step further when a loyal customer, Steven Gadecki, sent them a letter, and his L.L. Bean backpack, detailing the history of the bag and all of the memories he had with it. L.L. Bean was so impressed with their customer's story that they included his bag in the company's official archives, included his letter in their centennial book, and even interviewed Gadecki for a mini documentary.

Accentuating a human aspect in your brand's advertising strategy stimulates buzz through positive word of mouth. Taking the time to sit down and write a personalized letter in response to a customer, as opposed to a standard, automated response, could make the difference when separating yourself from the competition. My suggestion to advertisers is to make a more concerted effort to build strong relationships with their customers in 2013. LEGO and L.L. Bean have set the stage; now it's time for the rest of us to take off those New Year's party hats, finish off the last of the champagne, and get to work.


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About the Author
Kevin Weaver is a marketing professional in Wichita, KS with two years of experience. Past and present work includes email marketing compaigns, client e-store development, social media, and destination marketing.
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