“Is This a Scam?”

October 30, 2013

A Winning Experience: Gain Consumer Trust In Your Giveaway Promotions

by Steve Kim

“Is this a scam?” are words asked daily by consumers across Canada.

In today’s digital world, consumers are inundated with messages. Their time, and attention span, is short. The amount of spam, phishing and malicious emails and telephone calls out there can make the process of trusting and accepting messages more difficult.

What does a trusted brand do when they have a contest, giveaway or cash prize, and want their valued customers to pay attention instead of hitting “Delete”?

Birthday_Celebration_Homepage_WEB_Banner_938x324_JUL2013-MLMr. Lube Canada recently completed a cash giveaway as part of its 37th birthday celebration weekend. From coast to coast, customers entered to win one of three $10,000 cash prizes. However, when it was time to notify and announce the three winners, the reaction was mixed. Two of the three winners responded quickly and wholeheartedly accepted their prize.

However, one winner took some time to respond to the notification call. After numerous attempts, over a prolonged period, the winner finally returned a message; rather than an initial positive reaction of shock and excitement, the winner instead went through a stage of disbelief before responding.

The Maple Ridge winner of the recent Mr. Lube contest
The Maple Ridge winner of the recent Mr. Lube contest

I spoke with David Waterfall, VP Marketing for Mr. Lube, and discovered that Mr. Lube has a solid plan in place to ensure each winner is confident in the process. “We understand how important it is to have an open, transparent communications plan in place for each promotion and giveaway we implement,” stated Waterfall. “Consumers are bombarded with messages every day, so it’s not surprising that even with best practices in place people remain cautious about hearing ‘too good to be true’ news.”

This is a key point: with victims of spam (in the form of emails or phone calls) constantly in the headlines, brands must take on a greater responsibility to respect a promotion winner’s potential reservations.

The Red Deer winner
The Red Deer winner of the recent Mr. Lube contest

Waterfall went on to state the importance of understanding the winner’s experience through the process: take the time to test out your plan, map out the touch points and integrate your approach so each interaction is positive, credible and informative. “We expected winners to take their time, perform due diligence on the promotion and come to us on their terms, so we were prepared for all outcomes,” he added.

So what did Mr. Lube do to help ensure its promotion process would be an “experiential” success? Waterfall offers some helpful tips:

  • Develop your plan with policies and processes from the start: Establishing best practices is vital. Set up a communications workflow, with escalation policies in place to ensure all possible outcomes are covered.
  • Publish open, transparent communications: From the get-go, state the terms, rules and process for the promotion, and for selecting and contacting the winners. Clearly outline the time periods involved, but also have a plan for dealing with those who reply late, as this is where things can get challenging.
  • Go multi-platform: Use email, telephone, direct mail and social (but via private messages) to ensure the winner is contacted.
  • Let the winner come to you: Although it can save time to offer direct lines and links, it helps with confidence levels if the winner is directed to contact the business back for verification. During the promotion phase, publicize contact details via all available media channels to ensure all the information is public, and that there are multiple reference points.
  • Outline the plan of collecting: Once contacted, have a plan ready for the winner; skill-testing questions, waivers, dates and locations for the presentation all help to build trust and confidence.
  • If possible, get the winner into the process: Most winners may wish to keep their back story private, but highlighting their story (with a signed release) can add value to the process for your organization. Further, it’ll help to generate excitement for your next promotion or giveaway.

The last thing your organization wants your customers to take away from a promotion is a bad experience from an inadequately communicated promotion process. To help you avoid this, think of the process in terms of the consumer:

  • How do people perceive the information?
  • How can you establish trust and confidence?
  • How can you make the promotion fun and engaging in today’s digital media world?

Once you have a comprehensive, consumer-focused plan and process in place, you’ll be in a much stronger position to reap the full benefits of similar promotional campaigns in today’s media cluttered, digital world.

Steve Kim (@SteveKimBC) is the Immediate Past President of the BCAMA and the President of Boilingpoint Group. At Boilingpoint, Steve manages the overall operations and focuses on strategic direction, new business development and client relations. A staunch believer in content marketing solutions, Steve thrives on helping organizations integrate traditional and digital media strategies to drive business results. Big into community building and outreach, Steve also volunteers his time as co-founder and director of C3 Korean Canadian Society.