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By Karen Post The Branding Diva®, co-founder of Oddpodz.

Seems like there is no shortage of new expenses, rising costs, and life challenges as we all try to survive and be happy together on planet Earth.

Like you, I’m annoyed by the rising cost of everything, while our income seems to hold steady at the same amount. Gas keeps going up, airlines add luggage and beverage fees. What will be next? Oxygen mask rentals should the cabin pressure drop?

Ok, we can whine, or we can turn these current affair irritations into something that can make your brand look like a nice guy, building deeper relationship with your buyers.

Good examples of turning a negative into a positive promotional idea.
Kimpton Hotel Group, “They got your bag,” with the “We’ll pick up the tab and issue a room credit” promo. Just show them your luggage charge receipt and cover the fees. Valid as of this posting, until September 9, 2008.

UPS – As fuel costs started rising last year, this media savvy company issued a PR release and earned millions of dollars of nice-guy publicity points via news sources everywhere. The news angle was that UPS ships and transports daily for millions of people; they shared fuel economy tips that can give everyday Joes a little more bang for your fuel buck.

Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep®, – As fuel prices continued to rise, the Let’s Refuel America Program helped stabilize the cost of fuel with a simple solution; locking in the price of unleaded or diesel fuel at $2.99/gallon for three years. Program participants used a special card linked to their MasterCard or Visa credit card account. The card was used to purchase enough fuel at $2.99 per gallon to travel up to 12,000 miles per year in each of the next three years. To qualify, you had to purchase or lease an eligible Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep® vehicle from May 7 through July 7, 2008 and have a valid MasterCard or Visa credit card.

These issues are top of mind with consumers and the media. If you can craft a value proposition and still be sensitive to the real-life challenge at hand, a tie-in can be a win/win. Consider leveraging timely situations as PR angles, promotional incentives, or as an event where you give back to the community.

Have you seen any great marketing ideas where a brand turns a bad economic condition into a feel good promotional idea?

About the author: Karen Post, a.k.a. The Branding Diva® is an international authority on branding, marketing, and entrepreneurial matters. She is has been featured as a business expert in print publications; on TV, radio, and on Web channels. Karen authored the best-selling book Brain Tattoos, Creating Unique Brands That Stick in your Customers’ Minds and she is co-founder and CEO of Oddpodz.com, an idea engine for creative professionals and business. Her work has benefited large and small organizations in the United States and around the world.