Two weeks ago, the “un-carrier,” T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) devised a great way to create stakeholder “stickiness” by providing all new account holders with one share of T-Mobile common stock. And, to ensure everyone is engaged, existing customers may receive a share upon request.
That’s 11 million shares of stock if everyone requests their shares. This is a fantastic way of merging the investors and the customer base into a single, unified customer base.
According to CNN money, this is the first time a publicly traded company has issued stock to customers. T-Mobile CEO John Legere is no stranger to pushing the envelope. His televised earnings calls, news conferences with “salty” language and public events are more like big shows than static investor activities.
In the company’s news release: “For me, there’s no higher praise than hearing a customer say they recommend T-Mobile to family and friends, so we wanted to get this right,” said Legere. “And, what better way to thank you than sharing in the future of our company? Now, T-Mobile customers own the place!” he added.
From a marketing perspective, this is a fantastic way to keep customers engaged and to ensure a more “sticky” product and messaging. Sticky has worked its way into marketing vernacular from the website industry. But it’s definition is simple: Keep stakeholders engaged as long as you can.
According to an article by marketer Greg Ciotti, “A study by the Corporate Executive Board that included 7,000 consumers from across the U.S. found that of those consumers who said they had a strong relationship with a brand, 64 percent cited shared values as the primary reason. If you want loyal customers, you need them to care about you.”
This definitely falls into the strategy for T-Mobile. Programs initiated by the company this year in addition to the stock include Monday night dinner and a movie (free pizza and movie), Free Tuesdays with give-aways to customers ranging from coffee to ice cream to vacations.
But something must be going right. Legere was named one of the top 20 CEO’s in America by Glassdoor with an approval rate of 95 percent through surveys conducted by Glassdoor. He moved from 14th to 12 on the list for 2016.
Time will tell how this affects T-Mobile’s share performance, but marketers and investor relations officers are watching carefully to see if this is the beginning of a trend.