Thursday, October 30, 2008

Good Will Hunting

No, not the movie, talking about brands seeking loyal customers, say in the coffee shop business.

The name of the game is "steering through consumption", giving customers the privilege of voting with dollars, meaning we've earmarked some of the goodies with cause-related info, tagged 'em with tokens somehow (probably in software).

Say when you buy a chocolate bar from some (Quaker?) company, an LCD shows positive changes vis-a-vis the advertised beneficiaries, the retailer remitting sales info in exchange for a discount (a mutually beneficial trade). Buy this scone, help a kid in Zimbabwe; Newman's Own (brand) pioneering in this regard.

Such microtransactions do add up, but are counterproductive to track manually, too much nickle and diming, which is where open source software enters the picture. A back office profile will store the fund accounting tables in SQL engines, such that beneficiaries have a way of checking their balances, perhaps through a bank.

Shops will differentiate within zip code according to customer demographics, i.e. in some necks of the woods, a beef jerky purchase might net a few dimes to the NRA. That doesn't sound much like Portland though, a test market for these concepts, as well as LA?