Gifting Decisions, Like Purchases, Driven By Self-Interest

According to Business Week, Cornell University business major Matthew Zimmerman got a practical education in advertising this summer, thanks to his Sinek Partners internship. He had to figure out a way for beggars to increase their revenue streams by creating new marketing tools—in this case, signs—for them to use.

“My goal was to create an emotional attachment between people on the street (his target market) and Amy (his client) so that they would become repeat customers,” says Zimmerman.
He was also advised to keep in mind that people are interested in their own benefit when buying something, in this case the act of donating.
Typical panhandling sign describes the person’s situation or status—Vietnam vet, runaway, unemployed, unlucky one, or drug addict. After interviewing several New Yorkers, however, Zimmerman found that type of sign to be usually ineffective, because it fails to create an emotional tie with the potential giver or make the giver feel good about himself or herself for donating—key elements in getting people to dig into their pockets.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.