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Newsletter #913: The “Give Them the Reins” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Something exciting happens when you hand ownership over to your customers. They might show you a better way to do things, they may make your stuff more interesting, and they’ll definitely talk about it. Here are some ways you can empower your customers:

1. To do something good
2. To change your focus
3. To create something cool
4. Check it out: Universal wrapping paper

1. To do something good

If you give your customers the power to do something nice, you’ll give them a great reason to be your advocate. For their “A Day in a Pair” contest, Levi’s and GOOD asked people what they would do for their community with $100. The three most inspiring ideas actually got that $100 and a camera crew to follow them on their adventure. By allowing their customers to do the good deeds, Levi’s made it personal, and by letting their contest winners spread the word for them, Levi’s humanized their brand in more ways than one.

The lesson: Letting your customers lead a charitable effort is much more meaningful than a generic corporate fundraiser.

Learn more: GOOD

2. To change your focus

Most of the people who used SpotOn, a restaurant recommendation app, weren’t interested in its main feature: personalized recommendations based on Foursquare algorithms. What users actually did was open the app to tell their friends where to go eat and to see what their friends thought of places. So the creators of the app listened and built something for them. Their new app, Fondu, focuses on the social aspect of food recommendations, creating something like Twitter for foodies. They didn’t dig their heels in and find a different demographic to court — they found a way to provide more of what their customers were already asking for and made it better.

The lesson: Is your primary focus secondary to your customers?

Learn more: Fast Company

3. To create something cool

After 40 years of the same birthday promotion, McDonald’s Germany knew the concept was getting old. So they did something better. They asked their fans to make the very first crowdsourced burger themselves. Fans could pick the ingredients, name the burger, and even promote it with DIY videos, banners, and posters. The winning burger would be sold in McDonald’s restaurants. By letting the fans power the creative and promotional process, they generated a ridiculous amount of word of mouth. They also gave fans a sense of ownership that translated to incredible sales.

The lesson: Give your fans the tools to make something with your stuff.

Learn more: PSFK

4. Check it out: Universal wrapping paper

Tired of buying different wrapping paper for every holiday and special occasion? WORDLESS has you (and your gift) covered.

Check it out: Fabio Milito

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