Brand Reciprocity in Marketing

As times change, so do marketing tactics and approaches. Today, we live in the world of influencer marketing; a growing trend that has made brands work more easily with people. To make influencer marketing work for them, brands apply a strategy known as Reciprocity. The underlying idea behind this technique is, that when you give people something for free, they will feel indebted to do something for you in return. Hence, if an influencer finds a box of free Lays packets on their door by Pepsi, they turn to their social media accounts and praise the company for doing such a deed. But this isn’t the entirety of reciprocity. Brands don’t just offer free products to influencers to get a shoutout in return. They also provide free services to their customers in order to gain loyalty and new leads.

It’s an age-old psychological insight that’s becoming a widely used trend in today’s digital marketing world. In this blog, I’ve outlined 8 successful examples of brand reciprocity. Have a look!

1. Uber

Back in 2013, bus drivers in Boston went on a strike and vowed for buses to not be operable. Uber stepped to the rescue and offered free bus services to public schools. This didn’t just let them save the day but also got them goodwill points and beyond through PR, gaining them a worthy image. This kind of brand reciprocity by such companies is what earns them a loyal consumer base, one that we all know Uber has already established as a convenient transport service.

2. Copyblogger

Content Marketing gains more attention than any paid advertisement done. On that note, Copyblogger offers you a wide range of blogs, seminars, webinars, and ebooks. But even before that, it offers you a free course on how to make quality content that will make your brand superior. They offer a series of different certifications for your content marketing, and they also allow you to hire certified copywriters. So basically, they offer a wide range of features for you and gain your loyalty in return.

3. Blue Bottle Coffee

Many companies have a secretive approach to their ingredients and methods that they make a point never to share with their audience. Blue Bottle Coffee has other ideas. A company dedicated to offering high-quality coffee brews, they have a ‘Learn’ section given on their website where they teach their audience the steps to brewing their own high-quality coffee. They show a detailed step-by-step guide that also

This approach allows them to get great brand reciprocity in several areas. Firstly, they showcase their expertise, increasing their authenticity, and making the audience trust them. Furthermore, it increases customer loyalty, as they’re providing their audience with valuable information that can especially be of help to small businesses looking to brew their own coffee. And this also increases their sale as they name each and every ingredient needed to brew coffee, which can be easily bought from their shop. This is a technique that not only increases authenticity but also their SEO as new traffic gets directed to their online store.

4. Converse Rubber Tracks

Back in 2011, Converse introduced a free music recording studio, allowing new and struggling artists in Brooklyn to sign-up and record music for free. This gave amateur artists to showcase their talent on a platform where they otherwise couldn’t have any access, or it would take them years to find such an opportunity. The music industry is highly demanding and many artists’ talents never get to see the light of day due to the lack of resources when it comes to affordability. Converse providing them all a platform for free did wonders for kicking off their careers.

5. Oola Tea

Oola Tea gains new customers by providing a $10 gift card to new customers. And it also gains the loyalty of old customers by offering them a $10 gift card for referrals. Not only this, but it caters to the charitable nature of humans by giving away a meal to a child on the purchase of every rice box from their store. This level of reciprocity makes the brand look human and caring, and when they’re human instead of perceived as capitalist rulers, the brand automatically gains consumer loyalty.

6. BonLook

A company that sells prescription glasses of all kinds and colours, BonLook allows its customers to check which glasses suit them best through their laptop cameras and order the ones they like the most. The virtual try-on feature is free, and it’s super convenient for the busybodies who find it hard to make time to visit a shop to buy prescription glasses.

7. SkinCity

SkinCity is a Swedish brand that offers you an online skin test so that you may find the best products suitable for your skin type. Their specialist, after the test, will send an entirely customized skincare routine which is completely based on your skin’s needs. Your answers are delivered FOR FREE 48 hours after you’ve done the test. This convenient and valuable help is what makes your audience inclined toward your brand.

8. Goop

A makeup company run by Gwyneth Paltrow, Goop offers its customers with free samples in the package with every order. This allows the customers to try out a few of their most valuable products for free without having to buy them. And if the products turn out to be effective, the customers will end up buying them on their own in the future. This doesn’t only provide valuable help to customers but also increases loyalty with the brand and creates a stronger brand-customer bond.

So these were your examples of brand reciprocity. It’s a new yet human approach to marketing. Human in the sense that when people get products for free, they feel accepted by brands and also a little guilty and in-debt of having gotten such services. The guilt arising from the feeling of being in-debt in turn drives the person to do something for the brand. It’s a classic barter-system approach to marketing that leaves all parties happy and content.

Maha Abdul Rehman

A content writer and a psychology major, I procrastinate for 6 months or write consecutively. And I occasionally watch (see: obsess about) Football.

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