by Matt Alderton | March 27, 2019
Do you believe in karma? If you want your company to have a good reputation with consumers, you probably should. Because companies that do good often do well, author Erik Sherman suggests in an article for

According to Sherman, goodwill -- being friendly, cooperative or helpful -- can earn companies a better reputation than marketing can buy. Consider, for example, a recent tweet made by streaming media company Netflix. In January, Sherman reports, Netflix made a tweet promoting the BBC America original series, "Killing Eve," whose lead actress -- Sandra Oh -- had just won a Golden Globe for her performance.

The tweet read, "every single one of you reading this right now needs to make time in your life to watch Killing Eve."

But here's the kicker: The series isn't available to stream on Netflix. When one of its followers pointed that out, the company did something completely unexpected: It referred them to its competitor, Hulu, which had won the rights to stream the show's first season instead of Netflix. "try Hulu!" Netflix tweeted.

Sherman applauded the move. "There is a broad contingent of people in business who think markets are utterly zero sum and that the only way to get ahead is for competitors to do worse. That is often a mistake," he says. "Netflix did something smart -- you could even call it emotionally intelligent. The company … showed itself to be more interested in quality material and the interests of its customers than in shutting out competitors or finding a way to grind out another nickel."

Now, Hulu will be in a better position to reciprocate the favor, and Netflix might earn business from consumers who appreciate its good nature.

"It's like the scene in the movie 'Miracle on 34th Street' when Santa tells a mother where to buy a toy the store was sold out of. It becomes a big PR hit that brings in profits and costs nothing," concludes Sherman, who says your business could similarly benefit from so-called "goodwill marketing." "Consider whether your industry and company are potentially able to make use of some common courtesy and putting a customer's interests ahead of your own."

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