Relationship Advice From CaringBridge

August 29, 2012

On Saturday morning, my postal carrier banged on my front door and didn’t let up. I was on the phone and couldn’t answer the door. But I figured I’d best see what the racket was all about. When I got to the door, sitting on the step was a tiny little package. I saw just the heels of the letter carrier as she walked away.

My little package had a CaringBridge address label. CaringBridge? Then I remembered. In doing research earlier in the week for a project that Fast Horse is working on with CaringBridge, I visited the CaringBridge website, went through the steps of setting up a SupportPlanner and signed up for CaringBridge’s Amplifier Hub.

Maybe it was the fact that I took all those steps within a short period of time or maybe CaringBridge is just good at relationship marketing but something triggered this home-delivered gift. After opening it, I concluded CaringBridge is good at relationship marketing. Really good at it. Here’s why:

1. Surprise and Delight – My little gift (a tiny flower pot, poppy seeds and soil) was totally unexpected and caught me by surprise. The “So what?” of that is that I’ve told everyone I know about it and I am obviously blogging about it to all of you. A textbook example of earned media.

2. Executional Excellence – The little gift was nicely packaged and the branding was well done. Instead of bubble wrap, CaringBridge used bright orange paper crinkles. The gift was wrapped in a purple cardboard sleeve, imprinted with a subtle pattern of CaringBridge iconography – little hearts and bubbles and balloons. CaringBridge consistently uses these elements throughout all their communications across all their consumer touchpoints. Recognizable. Well done.

3. On Message – CaringBridge’s mission is to amplify love, hope and compassion in the world to make every health journey easier. This little gift is right on message. They showed me how much they appreciate my willingness to join their efforts and showed me they care. Through this simple act of kindness, CaringBridge demonstrated how they walk the talk.

4. Lifetime Value – The postage on my little package came to $2.50. Add to that the cost of the contents and packaging. In the short term, CaringBridge has spent more on me than I have spent on them. But, they know the importance of investing in their volunteers and advocates and have faith it will come back to them ten fold. And they are right. They know that the lifetime value of someone like me far out weights the short term cost of the gift and they are willing to make that investment.

So, I’m hooked. I’m sure it seems silly that something so small and so simple could have such an impact on me, someone who knows the tricks of the trade and should be immune to their effects. But that is just the point. CaringBridge did such a great job on this little piece that it doesn’t feel like marketing. And after meeting some of the CaringBridge staff two weeks ago in a meeting, I know how committed they are, not just to the mission of amplifying love, hope and compassion in the world making each health journey easier, but committed to each other, to their volunteers and to the people they serve. It’s one class act and I count myself lucky to be a part of it.