Use Guilt & Goodwill To Motivate Customers Into Action

Promotional ideas - guilt

It’s very useful to understand the psychology behind a particular promotional product campaign, as the psychology is often the key to understanding why one campaign worked and another failed.

If you can understand why a promotional idea works you’ll be able to use it as a template and repeat the success time after time.

We have found that many of the successful promotional product campaigns that we have implemented have used these two powerful emotions – GUILT & GOODWILL

“So,what’s the difference between Guilt and Goodwill?” I hear you ask:


Otherwise known as the “Reciprocation Rule”, guilt is hardwired into the human brain. The basic idea is that if you give a ‘no strings attached’ gift to someone, they then feel obliged to give something back to you. In the world of promotional merchandise, this would occur outside of a business transaction. The gift is completely unexpected.


Goodwill is similar to Guilt except the free gift is given within the context of a business transaction. The most common time is immediately after the completion of a business transaction.

The reason that Goodwill is generated rather than Guilt is that the receiver understands more clearly that it is connected to the business transaction, and therefore feels no sense of obligation. Instead, they feels a sense of Goodwill.

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