It was widely reported this week that NBA superstar LeBron James delivered a batch of cupcakes to all of his new neighbours in an apology for the commotion caused by his recent move to Cleveland. Devised especially for The LeBron James Family Foundation and delivered by teams from Baker Boulevard Decadent Desserts, two types of cupcakes were shared: six Just A Kid From Akron Cherry Cola cupcakes and six Homecourt Chocolate Chunk cupcakes.
The treats also came with a note that read, “Dear friends, we know things have been hectic in our neighborhood these past few weeks and we are sorry for the chaos. We are so thankful to live in this wonderful community and we are so blessed to have understanding neighbors like you.”
The PR industry is no stranger to a surprise cupcake delivery. After all everyone seems to love and appreciate them; whether it is a thank you, an apology or as an introduction whilst prospecting to announce, “We’re here!”
These are great moments in time, but the aim should be about developing a longer term relationship and inviting further dialogue; in the case of James, form a lasting relationship with his local community. So here are a few guiding principles we can take from this approach:
- Be personal and personable. The language in the note is friendly and very inclusive, James addresses ‘friends’, talks about it being ‘our neighborhood’ and says ‘like you’.
- Have something more to say. ‘Hi’, ‘thanks’, ‘sorry’ and ‘thinking of you’ might all be well and fine, but it doesn’t lend much for a further in-depth conversation. Incorporating the Foundation provided more of a talking point. The reason for sending the treats is to do with the recent past, but the Foundation with a mission to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education opens up so much more for future dialogue.
- Tie in added messaging naturally. The inclusion of the James Foundation via the cupcakes didn’t feel like a forced promotion. So look to find the elements in what you have to push that will most naturally suit the situation.
- Do something socially sharable. Further the reach of your actions even when targeting an individual. Make your action go further and use the opportunity to engage with your recipient’s network. The note being from LeBron James was always likely to be shared, but the easy-to-read infographic design meant that the message could be conveyed to a broad audience very quickly allowing it to really fly!
By way of apologies, this can be seen as a PR slam dunk for King James.