Give Them Something Extra

By Kristin Sundin Brandt, CFMP

When I was a child, a visit to our local family-owned grocery store was not complete until my brother and I received a pretzel stick from behind the counter. The pretzel sticks and a greeting from Bob, one of the store owners, was the highlight of any trip and remains with me each time I see a pretzel stick.

I was reminded of those pretzels recently when, upon opening a package of tile samples from, I found something extra…a snack size pack of Mike & Ike. What does sour candy have to do with backsplash tile? Absolutely nothing—except that it caught me by surprise, injected a bit of joy and made a big impression. (All, it should be noted, for approximately 10¢).

One of my favorite athletic designers, Betty Designs has raised giving a little extra to an art form, regularly switching up what is included with orders. The current giveaway, one of six “Badass Bands,” is brilliant, as it rewards the recipient while also encouraging future orders for those who want to collect them all. (For those who don’t want to spend time collecting, she also makes the bracelets available for sale). Since joining Team Betty in 2016, the swag has changed from small stickers (perfect for tagging bikes, helmets and other pieces of equipment), to keychains with the Betty logo, to the new Badass Bands.

What does this mean for banks?

From coffee and cookies to wi-fi and water bottles, there is no question banks and credit unions are on board with the idea of giveaways. And many, like MutualOne Bank, work diligently to ensure the swag they give enhances the event and the visitor’s experience.

A few ideas that worked for MutualOne:

1. Ice cream dishes for an ice cream event.

2. Frisbees and cowbells for a bike event.

3. Travel wine cups for an art walk.

But the lesson from my TileBar and Betty Design experience is that the ‘extra’ we deliver doesn’t always have to be big, or expensive. In fact, it can be quite small—a dog biscuit for a visitor’s puppy, a sticker with a customer’s receipt, a quarter for the parking meter—just as long as it spreads a little joy, and connects with the customer.

Kristin Sundin Brandt, CFMP, is the president of Sundin Associates Inc., Natick, Mass., an agency specializing in financial services companies.  She is also a faculty member of the ABA Bank Marketing School.