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.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Final Days of Sharing the Bliss

I've been sharing the bliss for the last two weeks and it has been incredibly fun. Just a few quick updates and some more photos (sorry for all of the space at the top of the post -- I can't figure out why that's happening!).

I brought the necklace to work again, where my co-worker Regan tried it on (pictured above). She was great to photograph -- she was all smiles when wearing the 16-carats, but all frowns when she had to take it off and put on her own necklace. Hilarious!

I also brought the necklace to grad school at Northwestern with me. In a room where there are only two other guys, it's safe to say that the necklace received rave reviews.

I also took some more photos of Monica in the necklace (above). This time we made sure to include some Hershey's Bliss in the photo since they made this whole experience possible. Monica and I went for our nice night out and we also went dancing -- just as I had promised in my entry to the Share the Bliss Contest. It was a wonderful way to end our two weeks with the necklace.

The necklace is still sparkling and I am very excited for the next winner of this contest. Thanks again to all of you who came along on this short but unforgettable journey with us. It's been a blast!

Add This to Your To Do List
I'll be back to "normal" blogging with my next post. Stay tuned for more great marketing ideas.

There's never a lack of ideas.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The First Four Days of Sharing the Bliss

Friday, October 9, 2009
I received my Hershey's "Share the Bliss" prize package at work around 10:00 a.m. The FedEx package contained the 16-carat necklace, a copy of The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis, and three bags of Hershey's Bliss candy (I thought I was only getting two!)

At work, I happily shared the bliss of the necklace with my co-workers by letting them all try it on. (Well, actually, I was the first one to try it on!) We took photos of each other and had a blast with the necklace. It is really fun to watch people react to wearing a necklace worth $32,000.

Friday night, my wife Monica and I visited our high school as part of our high school reunion weekend (we went to high school together). She wore the necklace under a heavy coat and sweater since we sat outside in the cold to watch the homecoming football game. I grabbed all of our friends' attention at the game and proudly told them about the Share the Bliss contest. I ended the story by shouting, "and Monica's wearing the necklace right now!" So, of course, we made Monica unbutton her nice warm coat and pull the necklace out from underneath the sweater -- and everybody ooh'd and ahh'd as soon as it hit the light. Boy, did that necklace sparkle!

Saturday, October 10, 2009
Monica and I went to the more formal part of our high school reunion together on Saturday night. It was at Macy's in downtown Chicago. Of course, Monica wore the bling, which complimented her dress perfectly. The necklace was a huge hit. Did I mention how much this thing sparkles?! Photos don't do it justice.

Monica looked fantastic in the necklace and, once again, it was very fun to watch everybody's reaction after learning about the necklace.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Monica plays soprano saxophone in the praise band at our church -- what goes better with a saxophone neck strap than a 16-carat diamond necklace?! Monica was wearing the necklace while she played, and after the service, a lot of people came up to ask her about it because they saw my last blog post about winning the contest.

Necklace Details

I have studied the necklace a lot in the last four days and I thought I'd share some information about it with you:
  • The necklace has a total of 129 diamonds on it (yes, I counted them). 22 of the diamonds can be removed from the back of the necklace to make it shorter. That's how Monica wore it on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • The necklace is really, really sparkly. I just can't say that enough.
  • The diamonds on the necklace are smallest in the back and biggest in the middle front. The biggest diamonds in the front are probably somewhere around 1.5 carats each.
Four Days Down, Ten to Go
It has been an exciting first four days with the necklace. I can't wait for what's next with it. I still owe Monica a nice night out with it. And I promised my co-workers that I'd bring it back into work. I'll post more photos soon!


The top photos are of Monica and me at our reunion and of Monica at church. The bottom photos were taken of us at work.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hershey’s “Share the Bliss" Contest

Two Facts about Me
I do not like chocolate and I’m male.
So, you probably wouldn’t think that I’d enter a contest in which two of the three prizes for the winner are:
  1. The opportunity to wear a women’s 16-carat diamond necklace for two weeks and
  2. Two bags of Hershey Bliss chocolate

But, if you thought I wouldn’t enter a contest with those prizes, you’d be wrong, because I entered the Hershey “Share the Bliss" Contest as a gift to my wife, and those are the prizes. You see, the love for my wife and my desire to make her happy far outweigh the fact that I don’t like chocolate and I’m a male – I’d enter the contest for her, not me. (Awwww…)

Like I said, I did enter the "Share the Bliss" contest… and I’m one of five grand prize winners! (FYI, the third of three prizes is a copy of the book The Necklace.

So what does this mean?
I received the 16-carat diamond necklace today and I’ll be sharing its bliss with my wife for two weeks. I’ll also be sharing it with my family, friends, and co-workers. I’ll take lots of pictures and update my blog as often as I can. We’re headed to our high school reunion this weekend, where my wife will be sporting the necklace in all of its glory.

Add This To Your To-Do List
Stay tuned for more updates!

There’s never a lack of ideas.