Where Companies Get Giveaways Wrong and How To Do it Right

I see this far too often.

A company giving something away that has nothing to do with the problem their trying to solve, or the mission they’re on.

I had the pleasure of speaking to Luke Buesnel on my podcast recently.

Luke is the owner and content director of Story League; working to rescue brands from their traditional and boring corporate talk.

Luke is passionate about memorable business storytelling, and has many insights he wants entrepreneurs to hear. Luke was previously a journalist and broadcaster with the ABC, Ninemsn, and the Age, and also worked as an adviser to an Australian senator.

The Art of the Giveaway

During my days in marketing agencies, we once had the typical case study of a gym that wanted to do a giveaway program. They wanted to give out an iPad for everyone who signed up in the month of September.

Naturally, you’re like: ‘Yeah, that sounds cool, if I sign up, I might get an iPad,’ but what is the link between an iPad and a gym membership? How is this adding value to the individual who’s signing up?

I see that as quite a big problem, giveaways I’m not completely against — but what I am against is this mentality of: ‘Let’s give something away that is completely unrelated to the outcome that we want our customers to achieve by working with us.’

I asked Luke about his thoughts on this:

“I completely agree. Much like corporate talk, giving something away for free is cheap and it’s easy, and ultimately it’s nasty. It just lacks a fair bit of thought. The example you’ve just used areas is on point. It’s a gym offering something which is basically the antithesis of a gym, which is sitting on the couch on your iPad — so it doesn’t represent their brand whatsoever.”

Luke says your giveaways should be the content you put out as marketing, which really needs to be about education:

“That is what you’re giving away for free. You are basically giving away all your IP in order to be trusted and be respected. So if you’re a business and you’re trying to target your market, make sure you’re educating them along the journey. That’s another very important step.

It’s simple, if you’re doing a giveaway, make sure what you’re giving away is related to what you’re selling.

The content you’re putting out should not be telling people how good your product or service is, but rather answering the questions they would have about your product or service in the early stages.

Once you’ve built the trust with them, they’re more likely to give you their money once you’ve answered their critical questions.


For my full interview with Luke Buesnel, check out this link.

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