In the past, companies sought to please old customers and entice new ones by offering small holiday gifts. They gave away refrigerator magnets, calendars, and Christmas ornaments emblazoned with the company logo.
But in today’s geo-encoded, app-enabled world, sophisticated companies are trying something new to build trust and relationships with customers. We call them ‘benevolent apps.’ Unlike some apps that are designed to generate sales and promote special deals, benevolent apps are created to offer useful information or otherwise help with decision-making. The idea is not simply to sell products or services, but instead to build trust and relationships that eventually will lead to economic success.
One good example comes from Sea Tow Service International, a company located in Southold, New York. Sea Tow offers emergency towing and rescue services for boaters in the United States, the Caribbean and Europe. The free Sea Tow app supports boaters’ navigation needs by offering information about local tide tables, detailed marine weather forecasts, GPS coordinates and bearing and speed.
Read the full post at Fortune.
Glen Urban is the David Austin Professor in Management, Emeritus, Professor of Marketing, Emeritus, Dean Emeritus, and Chair of the MIT Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management.