Minding Your Own Brand: How can we thank you enough?

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are upon us. The smell of turkey is in the air and Christmas carols have been echoing through the malls since the day after Halloween. It all adds up to one thing: holiday promotions.

Businesses are trying harder than ever to move their bottom line away from Christmas RED and turn it into a profitable end of the year BLACK. This means that companies are doing everything they can to “give” unbelievable savings in order to “take” their customers’ money.

But aren’t the holidays supposed to be a time of pure giving; a time to say thank you to the ones who have helped us throughout the year; a time to appreciate what we have?

Not in the business world. The holidays fall during the fourth quarter, which is when you need to make your bottom line as profitable as you can. With that in mind, most companies use the holidays as a way to drive up customer spending with promotions masked as holiday Thank You’s. All too often, companies send holiday cards which are poorly disguised “Please Buy from Us” cards. Whether they are 10% off gift cards or offering a free gift when you bring the card into the store, these holiday greetings often say please more than thank you.

We are taught from an early age that the “magic words” are “please” and “thank you.”  We quickly learn that as long as we are polite, we can use these phrases to manipulate others into giving us what we desire. Therefore, most people miss the intended lesson and use please and thank you for selfish means rather than to be polite and appreciate the kindness of others. The words become less magical and we begin to only use them to get exactly what we want.

Ultimately, we have become jaded to the true meaning of please and thank you, and what most never learn is that the true power of these words lies in the thank you, not the please. If you give out genuine appreciation on a consistent basis, people will feel a stronger bond to you and your relationship will truly deepen. Then, when you do have to ask them please, they will gladly give you what you need.

So what can small businesses do?

First, don’t wait until the holidays to thank your customers, employees, vendors and anyone who helps your business succeed. Thank them throughout the year. Many small gestures of thanks go much farther than one at the end of the year.

Second, always try saying thank you many more times than you say please and remember to separate the thank you from your promotions.

Finally, give as much as you can before you ask for something in return. By giving without expectation, you will truly reap greater rewards because you will build stronger relationships with people who will want to thank you for your kindness.

Happy Holidays and Thank You for being such devoted readers.


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