GE: A Case Study in Gratitude

Gratitude at GE: Building Relationships through Health

healthyWhen you think about health, which companies come to mind? Is one of them a company that makes dishwashers, dryers, and refrigerators? Probably not. But, GE is changing the game and has become a front-runner in promoting healthy living.

In 2012, GE ran the HealthyShare: Surprise and Delight campaign with the goal of facilitating meaningful conversations about health-related issues within and outside of GE. They developed and started having healthy conversations, and it encouraged other companies to do the same. But what is so significant about it?

Creating an Emotional Connection around a Shared Issue

It’s no secret that obesity is an epidemic in the United States; in fact, more than one third of U.S. adults and children are obese. It’s an issue that many people fight against every day.

By highlighting health as an important issue, GE appealed to a shared concern in the United States. People want to be a part of something; they want to help influence and change the world around them. Living healthy lives and encouraging others to do so is a way to positively influence our environment. Enlightened with this knowledge, GE aligned with customers for a common goal, which made customers want to work with GE.

GE ran a health campaign that changed the way people viewed them. People discovered GE’s core values, and it wasn’t just making appliances. To consumers, they became more than just a manufacturer; they became a vessel of change.

Showing Gratitude to Customers

healthy-breakfastNot only did GE facilitate conversations about health and well-being, but they showed gratitude to customers publicly talking about health. GE used Twitter to find users who were having health-related conversations. They engaged with them and, in the process, uncovered user interests and personal preferences for staying healthy.

GE used this information to send personalized cards and gifts related to health and the user’s individual health practices. GE often received social acknowledgement from the users on Twitter during this campaign.

This type of gratitude generates brand loyalty that has nothing to do with the products GE creates. In other words, they didn’t just blindly send users washers and dryers. By facilitating a conversation about health and rewarding users for engaging in it, GE developed relationships through gratitude and trust. Brand loyalty was increased by acknowledging those who were on board with GE’s idea.


The GE campaign ran for a month, and during that time, GE had conversations with 4,700 users and distributed health-related gifts to 2,000 of them.

More than that, it aligned GE’s brand with health, which fostered emotional connections between the company and the customer. Even though it was a non-traditional marketing campaign because it didn’t encourage a sale, the HealthyShare: Surprise and Delight campaign built trust and loyalty between GE and customers – a benefit that could pay off well into the future.

Focusing on gratitude to the customer outside of a business transaction can help companies gain customer loyalty. Appealing to social issues and the emotional aspects of human life develops relationships with customers and helps create personal relationships with otherwise faceless companies.

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