Building Customer Loyalty Through Humanizing the Experience

There are things we can do to humanize business which can cost little to nothing and have an everlasting impression on others.  If done correctly, this could inherently lead to free word-of-mouth marketing, which is the sweetest kind; employee retention; or best, joy and fulfillment.


Being nice, thoughtful, and building a community should not be a marketing plan or another box to check.  It should come from the heart.  With the right training, the ace team, a refreshed mindset, and a shift in priorities -- you can have long term positive outcomes and perhaps even develop dimples from smiling so bright.


A hug.

A high-five.

A free pizza.

A surprise gift.

A shiny sticker.

A thank you call.

A handwritten note.

A silly video greeting.

An invitation to an event.


One time I secretly took notes on my employees' favorite childhood toys and when Christmas came near, I spent sleepless nights scouring eBay for them.  When I gave them out, some people nearly cried.  It was less the gift, but more them knowing that in the day-to-day hustle and bustle, I was listening to them.

During the summer a customer ordered a hat from our website and I put a realistic skull inside of the package so that when the hat is taken out of the box, they find a spooky surprise!  I never heard back from that customer.  I hope we didn't scare them too much.


For our annual Halloween event on Boston's Newbury Street, I rented out a real hearse and a coffin from a creepy guy on Craigslist.  We posted fake movie trailers on our YouTube channel to build hype and excitement for our spooky t-shirt release.  The t-shirts were numbered and packaged in VHS tapes.  Customers traveled out from around the globe and many camped out in front of my Johnny Cupcakes shop.

Millions of dollars in free publicity was gained at this themed event we put together for our customers because it caused such a commotion that Channel 7 News in Boston picked it up as a segment.


We're in the trenches with so many of our customers through social media and in-person events, that we know when someone is having a baby, when someone is in the hospital, or when a customer is getting married.  We try to send cards and care packages and surprises.  It's the little things.


For my team and I, these nuggets of love and details are like brushing our teeth or picking a wedgie––we practice them on the daily.


In recent years we've been hired by meeting planners to help other organizations thank their clients, customers, attendees, and employees.  It's our unique ingredient to corporate gifting.


As an add-on to my keynote speaking engagements, we've been collaborating with their planners to design special edition Johnny Cupcakes x-company t-shirts to surprise everyone at the end of my talks.


It's sort of a mini Oprah moment.


"You get a t-shirt!"

"And you get a t-shirt!"

"You over there, free t-shirt too!"


There's something meta about it, where everything I'm teaching soon turns into a real-life social experiment!


Remember, it's not about B2B or B2C, it should be about H2H: Human to Human.



Johnny Earle

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Johnny Cupcakes: CEO of the World's First T-shirt Bakery, Award Winning Entrepreneur & Brand Hysteria Expert, Top Innovator in Retail, Marketing, & Brand Loyalty.

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