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When is the wrapping better than the gift?

Amazon gift cards come in this great metal gift box.

Same gift card, much more impressive gift. Bonus for Amazon if the recipient saves the box and thinks about Amazon every time they use it.

Presentation and packaging matters when your stuff is just like your competitor’s stuff. Change the game by changing how it’s delivered. It’s sometimes the easiest way to stand out without reinventing everything.

Amazon Gift Card Box

Check it out: Do a lot of people do this?

There probably aren’t many repeat offenders.


Video: How Southwest Airlines’ employees start meaningful word of mouth conversations

This is a post from our project. Check it out for more great word of mouth marketing tips like this every day.

If you fly with Southwest Airlines, you might not be surprised to see singing flight attendants or a cookie cake when your flight arrives. In fact, you may have already seen this viral video of a flight attendant firing off jokes during her entire safety briefing. Southwest Airlines is known for fun and friendly stunts like these because they’re dedicated to making memorable customer experiences.

To do it, Christi McNeill, Social and Public Relations Lead, says they follow 8 Steps for Engagement to get their customers, fans, and critics involved in the conversation. They include understanding your audience and competition, research and planning, hiring the right people, finding your voice, and just having fun.

In Christi’s presentation, you’ll learn:

  • Why one flight attendant sat with a little girl for her entire flight
  • How to make an online interaction into an offline experience
  • Why making crisis plans can turn around negative word of mouth

Watch Christi’s full presentation in the video below:

How to lead a social media engagement strategy, presented by Christi McNeill from on Vimeo.

To download the slide presentation in this video here.

Join us and do meaningful work with people you’ll like

My company, GasPedal, and its brands, and, are growing fast. We’re looking for talented, passionate people to join our team in Austin and Chicago.

We believe businesses everywhere are discovering that honest, ethical customer love is the most powerful kind of marketing. We help these people behind big companies win by surrounding them with friends and support so they can achieve their mission — and this helps them improve the lives of their millions of customers and employees.

Want to do meaningful work with people you’ll like?

We’re hiring for the following positions:

  • VP Communications
  • Council Managers
  • Market Development + Talent Sourcer
  • Senior Meeting Planner
  • VP Events
  • Operations Director
  • Operations Manager -IT/Desktop
  • Director of Technology

Check them out here.

In the coming weeks I’ll share details on each of these roles, plus more on the people we’d love to hire.

Newsletter #1005: The “Make the Best of It” 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.]

Forget lemonade — turn your lemons into wow-worthy marketing. Here’s how some companies converted unfortunate situations and underdog stories into big word of mouth opportunities:

1. When the earth swallows up priceless cars
2. When you can’t sell your stained couch
3. When everyone thinks you sell photocopiers
4. Check it out: Origins of Common UI Symbols

1. When the earth swallows up priceless cars

You probably heard about the sinkhole in Bowling Green, Kentucky that opened up underneath the National Corvette Museum and devoured eight vintage cars. It was a freak tragedy for the museum, but also a big opportunity for word of mouth. Instead of restoring the museum to its original condition, they decided to make a portion of the hole an exhibit itself. The result? Attendance is up 59 percent.

The lesson: Losing priceless cars to a natural catastrophe is rough. But by embracing it as a part of their history, the National Corvette Museum attracted a new audience of people to come and learn something about their cars.

Learn more: The New York Times

2. When you can’t sell your stained couch

Craigslist is not known for glamorous ads and slick marketing. In fact, plenty of postings have gone viral because they’re the opposite of those things. But for some ad students and interns, that’s what their agency, Classify, thrives on. They take a failing Craigslist post and revamp it with flashy images and marketing copy, pro bono, to help people sell their stuff.

The lesson: Everyone loves an ironic Craigslist ad. Classify uses the undesirableness of each post to their advantage to not only help someone sell an ugly couch, but to also draw attention to their marketing talents.

Learn more: PSFK

3. When everyone thinks you sell photocopiers

It can be hard out there for BtoBs to earn word of mouth — especially if most people are confused about what they do. For example, did you know Xerox (yes, that Xerox) provides business services for the government, higher education, healthcare, and other industries? To capitalize on their vast customer base of business leaders, they highlighted “Chief Optimists” with content on featuring stories from their customers on how optimism fuels success. And according to MarketingProfs, it helped Xerox generate over $1 billion in revenue.

The lesson: No matter how boring your product is, your customers are still interesting — especially if you’re a BtoB. Put the spotlight on them and you’ll not only earn more attention from potential customers, but also forge closer relationships with your current ones.

Learn more: MarketingProfs

4. Check it out: Origins of Common UI Symbols

Ever wonder where the Bluetooth symbol came from or why the USB port symbol looks like a weird trident? Learn the history behind the icons we use every day.

Learn more: Origins of Common UI Symbols

Show it, don’t say it

Check out this simple display in a toy store. The fun spinny toy is spinning, funly. It’s not sitting in a box on a shelf with all the other stuff. The manufacturer wins by helping its retailer do a better job of showing off the product. Lesson: Who do you need to tell your story […]

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Ed Nicholson, Director of Social Media at Tyson Foods

This is a post from my company,’s blog. Check it out for more profiles and stories about the people running social at really big brands. For this member profile, we sat down with Ed Nicholson, Tyson Foods’ Director of Social Media and Community Relations. Ed is one of the pioneers of social media […]

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Keep people talking for years and years

My daughter is 4 years from getting braces. But the local orthodontist is doing an amazing job of staying top-of-mind. She loves to wear their t-shirts — where everyone else at school (including parents) see it. I wrote about them a year ago, and the technique is still going strong. If you have a long-term […]

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Are you asking or ordering?

If you want people to help you — ask them nicely.  Please and Thank You go a long way. This sign (at the Denver Science Museum) does a great job. It asks you to help — which makes you feel like a good person doing someone a favor. I bet it works a heck of a […]

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