You Can Impact The World With A Smile

Sophia smiles
This photo story

loyalty marketing: the best kind of viral activity

Do you remember the viral activity of folks driving through Starbucks drive-ins paying for the order of the person behind them?

Now a year later, Arthur Rosenfeld wrote the real story of what happened, and what motivated him in Pay It Backwards: An Act Of Coffee Kindness.


I glanced in the mirror. The face of the impatient driver behind me was florid and twisted with anger and hate. I refocused my eyes and noticed that my own face didn’t look much different. Whatever plague had taken him had penetrated the steel and glass of my car to infect me too, robbing me of my much-vaunted equilibrium, my peace, my balance, my equanimity–precisely that thing that my beloved tai chi training, and the Chinese philosophy behind it prizes most highly.

“I teach my students that it is best not to lose that balance–wuji in Chinese–through meditation, breathing, and tai chi training, but when you do, you can use any of three “doors” to get it back. Door number one is meeting force with force: I could go ahead and start a fight. Door number two is yielding: I could kowtow on the concrete, admit to being an idiot, and beg the other driver’s forgiveness. The best option, however, is door number three. That door is different every time. The trick is to figure out what that is.

The car in front of me moved off and I pulled up to pay. “I’d like to buy the coffee for the guy behind me,” I said.

The barista looked at me in surprise. “But he’s a jerk!”

“Just having a bad day, ” I said. “Happens to the best of us.”

“A random act of kindness, eh?”

I shook my head, thinking how I could explain door number three to her before the guy rammed my bumper with his. “Not really. I’m not doing it for him; I’m doing it for me. I was mad right back at him, but now that I’m doing this I feel much better.”


Think about this for a moment. He wasn’t calculating, trying to become famous or looking to get free publicity. He wasn’t even motivated by a selfless desire to help someone else. He realized that angry man behind him had infected his emotional state, and was selfishly, but correctly, trying to clear his emotions.

The purity of his action and the fact that he wasn’t being advised by a public relations expert allowed the big ripple effect to occur spontaneously.


Normally professionals talk about loyalty marketing in terms of incentive or related programs.

Wikipedia describes loyalty marketing as “an approach to marketing, based on strategic management, in which a company focuses on growing and retaining existing customers through incentives.”

Wikipedia discusses relationship marketing as well. “Relationship marketing differs from other forms of marketing in that it recognizes the long term value to the firm of keeping customers, as opposed to direct or “Intrusion” marketing, which focuses upon acquisition of new clients by targeting majority demographics based upon prospective client lists.

You don’t have to own a company to practice relationship and loyalty marketing.


You’ve likely heard of the recent research that proved that if you smile at someone, it unconsciously gets passed on to 6 people before dissapating.

It doesn’t matter if the media looks you up or you get a million YouTube hits.

Every day simply try to help someone – without expecting even a thanks in return. You’ll overcome world anger, stress and senseless warmongering, one smile at a time.

David VanAmburg

We have built our highly successful FullCircle Rewards programs on years of testing andautomation to provide such incentives. But we are equally concerned with our clients’ long-term relationships with their customers. So we integrate personalized communications and real-time customer satisfaction systems.

The story of the photo above

Sophia Lehman at age three by her twin sister, Olivia. They have had carte blanche since age one to borrow my camera to take photos and videos. I laugh when watching them set up the camera, compose the scene, and announce “Action.” Their impressive collection continues to grow.

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3 Responses to “You Can Impact The World With A Smile”

  1. JudyBerg Says:

    Smiles are a great "pay it forward" gift that we can all do and afford! Wouldn't it be an interesting experiment if everyone decided to "Smile at EVERYONE I See" – just for one day! Maybe this site should promote such a day! Thanks for the quote and for dropping in Sunshower!

  2. Sunshower_Rose Says:

    What an exquisite reminder for each of us. Now, if we would but remember to smile at each person we encounter, no matter what the situation – or how we might typically respond. One simple, honest smile from us could change the receiver's day – if not their Life! Here's a thought form an 'unknown author': "If you don't have a smile, I'll give you one of mine." Then, know that our smiles are unconsciously being passed to 6 more people. That's refreshing! :)

  3. 1sexuality Says:


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