Can My Lawn Mower Meet Your Weed Eater?


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Futurists have been telling us for years that smart appliances would ultimately be able to talk with each other. That could mean your microwave would be asking your refrigerator, “What’s for dinner?” and your air conditioner would be telling your bathtub to, “Start a hot bath!” when your approaching vehicle let them all know you were en route home. But, we never dreamed these smart appliances would ultimately want to talk with our neighbors and their stuff!

Well, get ready! Smart meets Social! After Coca-Cola stunned the world with their Freestyle vending machine allowing you to concoct your own beverage (over a 100 choices), Pepsi is trying to best them with their new “Social Vending Machine.” Now, you can pay it forward—beverage style. Like paying the toll for the passenger in the car behind you, you can now buy a Pepsi for a friend, record a special message, put in their contact info, and the vending machine will text them a message with a code so they can get their gifted beverage on the Pepsi Social Vending Machine nearest them!

The implications for this new product introduction are more significant than the vending machine itself. The reach of social media is now infusing all manner of devices and appliances in our daily lives. It can make a sense of community much stronger and the capacity for random acts of kindness much easier. What can you do to hardwire social media into your relationship with your customers? If the new Pepsi Social Vending Machine were a metaphor for your future relationship with your customers, what would it imply?

Chip Bell
Chip R. Bell is the founder of the Chip Bell Group ( and a renowned keynote speaker and customer loyalty consultant. Dr. Bell has authored several best-selling books including The 9 1/2 Principles of Innovative Service and, with John Patterson, Take Their Breath Away. His newest book, Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service, will be released in February.


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