Surprise and delight campaigns could be your secret sauce, whether you’re looking to gain traction on social media, leave your customers feeling seen and heard or simply want to spread goodness into the world.

Here is one example of a big brand, like Kleenex, shining bright in the world of surprise and delight. The company launched Feel Good by Kleenex with great success. The team at Kleenex started by scouring Facebook for status updates of users who were feeling ill. After contacting family and friends for address information, a Kleenex kit filled with get-well items was delivered to their doorstep within hours. The campaign generated more than 650,000 impressions and resulted in 1,800 interactions between the brand and social-media users.

Why Surprise and Delight Works 

This campaign is just one example of how great PR can boost brand awareness, bolster customer loyalty, and create meaningful moments with viral potential and a ripple effect of  impact. In a LoyaltyOne survey, 95 percent of respondents said they were left with a positive perception of the company or brand behind a surprise and delight promotion.

In the Kleenex campaign, 100 percent of recipients posted a photo of the positive interaction on their social feeds. Every single person was so delighted they immediately became a brand advocate. Advocacy is worth its weight in marketing gold, with 90 percent of consumers trusting suggestions from family and friends, and 93 percent of consumers saying that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions.

You don’t need a multi-million dollar marketing budget to execute this strategy. Here are ways brands can leverage similar tactics to generate goodwill and create more brand advocates on a local level:

Ideas to Kickstart Your Own Campaign

  • Write a handwritten note. You may know your customer recently had a new baby or they’ve been going through a rough patch. Handwritten messages show you care about what’s going on in their lives on a personal level, and that they have your support in tackling any challenges.
  • Host a giveaway on social. Not only will it allow you to gift an awesome prize to someone who’s already a brand advocate or at least one in the making, by building in a requirement for tagging other friends in the comments you reach an audience beyond those who already follow you.
  • Make a meaningful connection. Interpersonal connections are one of the most powerful interactions we have as human beings and if you can make those moments happen you may come out of it a hero. Perhaps you volunteer to mentor a group of students in a field you’re passionate about, or recommend that a real estate client should help out in their local Habitat for Humanity shelter. These are ways to give back to people in your community and grow new connections and relationships.
  • Celebrate birthdays. Send a special discount code to a customer on his or her birthday or even a card and small gift for higher-touch clients. Acknowledging special days like birthdays and anniversaries goes a long way toward building brand loyalty.
  • Don’t forget about your team. Your staff are some of your best advocates. Employers who apply these same surprise and delight tactics on their employees are sure to create an army of brand ambassadors who know your business from the inside out. Springing for a work lunch on a Friday or offering frequent and meaningful recognition will encourage good work and excellent outreach, too.