People like presents. Brands want presence. Together these two truths showcase the win-win scenario that is social gifting. This trend has taken off in many digital branches, clearly strong in social media but also encompassing other technologies such as digital signage, GPS, mobile location-based check-ins and more. Social gifting has many perks for brands as well, including increased awareness, loyalty and engagement.
The latest example of social gifting that we have seen is PepsiCo’s Social Vending Machine. Users can select a beverage and then enter information: the recipient’s name, mobile number and a personalized text message with a code that can be redeemed at the machine. Participants can also record video to send or purchase a drink for a stranger. Some criticize the machine, however, for lacking Facebook and Twitter integration.
While some brands like Pepsi like to provide customers with a way to gift to each other, others like Omo are giving tech-savvy surprises to customers as well. The detergent company hid GPS devices inside of 50 boxes as part of a video camera giveaway. Winners were notified by brand representatives who came to their front door. To ensure that winners unsure of the visitors received their prizes, the GPS device beeps and there is further program and prize formation inside the box. Wheat Thins did a similar execution in which it delivered a truckload of its crackers to the houses of people who tweeted that they were out.
Some brands also create digital gifts for neighborhoods. In Germany, dog food brand GranataPet created a billboard that dispensed dog food automatically and at dog level when after someone checks-in at the signage on Foursquare. Other examples like Earthjustice‘s check-in billboard generated a $10 donation from donors of the nonprofit environmental law firm.
Gifting is a great way to potentially generate revenue while aligning a brand in a positive light and creating a fun and engaging execution for the end user. Brands can pull surprise stunts and use footage for online video content, which was done in Wheat Thins’ example. Hardware add-ons like GPS devices and check-in capability at billboards are also methods of delivering a branded gift. Social gifting can be done in many impactful ways to create lasting relationships between an audience and a brand.
Emily Knab, 5.11.2011