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Spread Some Kindtagious Around

The holiday season is upon us, and this year there’s not much peace on earth. We also seem to be lacking in good will toward men (and women).

Sometimes it may feel like there’s not much we can do; the issues are too big for an individual or even one organization to have much of an impact.

Last year, Travis Sheridan, executive director of The Venture Café, shared a different brand and reputation management philosophy at the PRSA STL meeting: “Kindtagious.” While his presentation was inspiring at the time, I think his ideas hold even more power and offer more opportunity for us now.  

A combination of “Kindness” and “Contagious,” Kindtagious is built on the belief that there’s more than the polished, front-facing image to a brand’s reputation. By Sheridan’s definition, Kindtagious is warm-heartedness likely to spread and affect others through direct or indirect contact.

There are five principles of Kindtagious:

  1. Kindtagious is a gift without obligation.  There is no hidden agenda. There are no strings attached. People are naturally driven to reciprocate, so don’t compel them to “pay it forward” or it ceases to be kind and becomes manipulative. Let the recipient determine their response.

  2. Kindtagious is inclusive in nature.  It’s really easy for us to be kind to other people who are like us, so you’ll have a greater impact if you are kind to someone who isn’t like you at all. Take interest in other perspectives, become comfortable with different people. Suspicion of you among your recipients will decrease, and identification with you, along with the willingness to invest in you, will increase.

  3. Kindtagious should focus on healing.  It should be authentic, not passive-aggressive, and seen as supportive, additive. Initially, the response to the effort will be discomfort, but you have to power through that to get to appreciation.

  4. Kindtagious is about small improvements in life.  Small, incremental improvements are easier to pay for, implement and measure. As a result, you will be viewed as pragmatic, empathetic and, most importantly, as a change agent. You will be trusted with more and promoted as a leader, a doer.

  5. Kindtagious is purposeful and strategic.  Just like any other business activity, your actions should be targeted, meaningful and replicable. If an action is random, it’s difficult for others to emulate and replicate.

You don’t have to be a big organization, or have a gigantic budget, to put Kindtagious to work for your bottom line. Kindtagious is always about letting your actions speak louder than your words. And that’s something we can all put to good use.

This post is courtesy of Sandi Straetker, APR, Membership Director for PRSA St. Louis. As owner and principal of PRiority Public Relations LLC, Sandi helps her B2B clients connect with customers and grow their businesses. Her work has been honored by PRSA’s Silver Anvil Awards. You can catch up with her on Twitter @SandiStraetker.

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