For his 50th birthday yesterday, actor Will Smith bungee jumped from a helicopter over the Grand Canyon. When most people hit a milestone birthday, they have a party, go on a trip, or cross off items on their bucket list.
Smith did the same but elevated it significantly in a way that allowed tens of thousands of people to take part in his adventure. Take these three lessons from the epic way Will Smith celebrated his birthday to deliver your own remarkable customer experiences.
1. Any milestone can be transformed into a delightful experience.
Smith could have easily done the bungee jump with a small group of his family and friends there to cheer him on. He chose instead to make the event into a grand event, dubbed "The Jump," that fans around the world could tune into.
To make the live stream even more special, Smith enlisted the help of his former Fresh Prince of Bellaire co-star Alfonso Ribeiro to host the event.
I watched "The Jump" live on YouTube at a restaurant in the Houston airport. My waitress watched it alongside me. A guy on the other side of the bar streamed it from his phone as well. We watched with baited breath as excitement and anxiety built for the big moment. We let out a collective sigh of relief when we saw he completed the jump safely.
Think about how you can elevate the different milestones your company encounters. Maybe it's your company's birthday, hitting a certain number of followers on social media, or a new product launch.
You don't even have to limit yourself to making an event out of something directly related to your company. Latch on to a day, week, or month-long celebration of something already on a calendar. At my old company, we made products for people with diabetes. Every year we would work to make a big to-do for World Diabetes Day.
2. Use content strategically to amplify the event.
Leading up to "The Jump," Smith and his team posted a lot of content on Instagram, his YouTube channel and other outlets talking about the event. Last week, Smith and his team released a video of the actor's first-time bungee jumping, at Victoria Falls to give a preview of what would be in store.
Smith's actual jump was less than ten minutes from the time the helicopter lifted off, to the time the stunt team disconnected him from the harnesses once it was over.
But I sat there glued to my phone along with tens of thousands of others for over an hour watching the pre-jump festivities, hosted by Ribeiro, which included discussions with Smith, his family, educational vignettes about The Grand Canyon, and the mechanics of doing such a jump successfully.
As you think about how to deliver remarkable experiences to your customers, don't just limit yourself to the event itself, and posting a photo recap of it after on your social channels. Think about all the different forms of content you can produce before, during, and after the event to generate buzz, amplify excitement, and include more people in what you're producing.
You'll get a lot more mileage out of it when you do.
3. Engage partners to expand your reach and add more meaning.
Smith turned "The Jump" into a charity event. He partnered with Omaze, a technology platform that democratizes traditional auction-giving. People who donate as little as $10 can have the opportunity to win a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Fans around the world donated to win the chance to hang with Will Smith during the bungee jump celebration.
More than 25 thousand people donated before the event. One fan was randomly selected, and she and a guest participated in the live stream. Thousands more donated during the live steam, even though there was no longer a chance to win the prize tied to it. Donations will be distributed to the organizations Global Citizen and Education Cannot Wait.
As you work to create experiences that bring your customers closer to your brand, don't feel like you have to go it alone. Enlist the help of partners to help spread the word, enhance your offering, and make what you're doing even more meaningful.
That could be charities or even other brands who have a special interest in the vision for your event.
Increase the word of mouth promotion, excitement, and trust for your brand by producing the remarkable. Once you start to look for them, you'll notice opportunities large and small that you can elevate.
You don't have to be a movie star to deliver remarkable experiences that delight your customers. Build an integrated plan, rally your team to help you implement, and have fun along the way.