I love it that Göteborgs Kexfabrik has put the recipe for its Bageriets Bästa cookies on the packet. It makes you feel great, like you’re trusted, like you’ve been let in on a secret. Like Kexfabriken wants to be friends.
What it doesn’t make you feel, I think, is a need to get the bowls and spoons out and start baking. That’s why this is such a great decision – you feel good about having the recipe, but it won’t make you buy less cookies. Somehow it feels like now that you have the recipe, you’re quite happy for them to do the baking.
It reminds me of a story I heard on one of my favourite radio shows, This American Life, about apologies. For a long time, there’s been a kind of taboo on doctors expressing regret about patients who die, because it was thought that it would be taken as an admission of responsibility by the relatives, and law suits would follow. Now, however, there’s a new movement that encourages doctors to express sorrow and even apologise if they were in some way involved with a failed treatment. Are relatives suing them? Quite the opposite. There are far fewer law suits over this kind of thing than there used to be. Doctors being open about their responsibility makes people less aggressive, not more. Trust is repaid with… trust.
Bageriets Bästa is a great example of this theory applied to marketing. Being open with your information doesn’t make people want to rip you off, it makes them like you. Withholding makes people resentful. In order to get your customers’ affection and loyalty, you have to trust them.
What could Kexfabriken do to live this strategy in other areas of their marketing? It seems to me that they are treating Bageriets Bästa as a separate brand to their other biscuits and cookies, which I can understand but in terms of a principle of openness as a marketing strategy, it would be better for the entire company to commit.
I’ve never been a fan of giving away product for marketing purposes, except if you’re giving to people who really really need it – for example, Procter & Gamble giving Dawn dishwashing liquid by the truckload to the oil spill cleanup effort after the Deepwater Horizon disaster (of course, the ad they got out of it must have been the most convincing dishwashing liquid ad ever made). But there’s other stuff you can give away or offer to the deserving – jobs, expertise, partnership.