It’s not often we stop to think about what a celebration like Thanksgiving actually teaches us. Rather, it’s something that businesses will jump on for their promotional messaging. The problem with this is… it often comes off as a bit flat. Holidays and celebratory days come around every year, and every year organizations will come up with methods and offers, simply because it’s a ‘special day’ and they feel obligated to do the same as everyone else. But consider this… if your business didn’t learn anything last year, what do you expect to gain this year? Here are four things Thanksgiving taught us.
Saying Thank you and Being Thankful are Two Different Things
It’s so important to stay connected with customers, build relationships, and reach out during special times like Thanksgiving… but you already know that. Have you ever opened a ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ email or seen a blanket Thanksgiving message on social media from a brand you follow? The chances are you probably have, but did that message evoke any emotion? Did it stand out from other Thanksgiving wishes?
What are you truly thankful for this year from a business perspective? Be specific. Maybe it’s a wonderful new employee who has completely transformed your organizational culture and motivation. Maybe it’s one special customer who was so grateful for your service they brought in flowers and made your week. If you’re a charity, maybe you received an unexpected donation that allowed you to change lives in a new way. These are real things that have happened, and they are heartfelt (authentic). These are the things your customers would love to read as you share why you’re thankful this year.
Making a Difference… is the Difference
Thanksgiving is about sharing, so it’s the best time of year for your company to do something without profit in mind. If you’ve gone the entire year without giving back as an organization, without working with a charity, rewarding your loyal customers, or taking the time to benefit a cause bigger than you, now is the time.
If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that these are the important things. Brands that are aligned with causes are winning right now, because being kind, giving and sharing, matter more to people than nice packaging and a well-designed website. The companies that know this are already making a difference in the lives of other people while simultaneously gaining long-term customer loyalty.
Your Employees are Your Life Blood
Build a team of dedicated employees and business partners who are passionate about customer success. Work together to devise strategies that find, delight, and retain fiercely loyal customers. This type of mindset, when authentic, can create a snowball that continues to build on itself. It also starts with caring – caring about each other, caring about our clients, and caring about successful customer outcomes. What better time than Thanksgiving to show we care?
It’s a Time to Reflect
This time of year is ideal for reflecting on the previous twelve months and looking at what worked and what didn’t in an informal way, before leading on to a more formal strategic plan for the new year. When we say a less formal way, we’re talking about something similar to gratitude journaling. Gratitude journaling is the process of creating a short list of items that we are grateful for. There are those who do a gratitude journal every day. We don’t need to go to that extreme, but it is good to take stock periodically.
When we exercise gratitude, it’s easier to accept the challenges ahead and acknowledge the problems that might have occurred. Gratitude often leads to optimism and positive thinking, which are so important for innovation and creativity. Without that, it becomes challenging to brainstorm for new strategies or overcome hurdles. Take some time to stop and reflect before mapping out plans for the future.
Business is of course business, but at the heart of that, we are all still people. That means that emotions can come into play – especially at this time of year. It can be difficult for a brand to show its “human” side without feeling exposed. To some, this may seem unprofessional; yet it is this vulnerability that creates the potential for emotional connection with the brand. Thanksgiving teaches us that these seemingly insignificant things, working together, all matter – a LOT.
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