Friday, October 30, 2009

The Honor Flight

Honoring our Heroes
My new favorite charity is the Honor Flight. This organization provides WWII veterans all expense paid trips to Washington DC to view the WWII memorial. The trip lasts three days and two nights, and includes many thoughtful ceremonies and speeches.


My grandfather, who served on the USS Pennsylvania (yes, he was on board when the Japanese torpedoed his ship), will be participating in the Honor Flight next month. He will be traveling with my Uncle, who is a veteran of the National Guard.


Getting Others Involved

Along with many of my family members, I would love to travel with my grandfather on the Honor Flight. However, that's just not practical -- this trip is meant to honor as many veterans as possible, and those of us who aren't WWII veterans take up room on the trip that could otherwise be filled by veterans.


However, my family and I very much want to support my grandfather as he travels to and from Washington DC. Much to our delight, leaders of the Honor Flight have invited family members of the WWII veterans to write letters to their loved ones in which we thank them for their service. We have been told to send our letters to a PO Box before the flight. While on the airplane home from Washington DC, the Honor Flight includes "Mail Call," in which leaders of the Honor Flight distribute the letters to all of the WWII veterans.


Even though we can't be there to support my grandfather, we can still get involved and honor him by sending him a letter. This is such a brilliant idea and one that makes the trip personal. It lets my grandfather know that while we are not with him on the trip, we are thinking about him and that we appreciate his sacrifices for our freedom.


Add This to Your To-Do List

The Honor Flight teaches us one key principle of marketing: Personal touches add a lot of value to purchases that we make. As marketers, we need to make people feel special when they are buying our products and services. Real estate agents should provide their clients with a bottle of champagne and a basket of baked goods after they purchase a new home. Car salesmen should give clients who have just purchased a new car a bucket, sponge, soap, and some wax as a thank you present.


These small gestures of thanks, congratulations, and appreciation go a long way in the mind of consumers. They create good will and positive word of mouth, which ultimately lead to positive brand perceptions and increased sales. Look to enhance customers' experiences by providing a personal touch and an individual "thank you" and your business will satisfy its existing customers and gain even more.

Thank a veteran for his or her service today.


There's never a lack of ideas.