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How to win business: Stalk your client on LinkedIn

A small Kentucky ad agency decides that the best way to get A&W's business is to get every one of its employees to contact A&W's senior executives on LinkedIn. How social.

Wait, Cornett also works for Applebee's? I'd better tell A&W on LinkedIn.
Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When you want something from somebody, it's best to ask nicely.

At least, that's what I was always told by my former girlfriends and cell mates (that's two separate groups). However, I may have to revise that notion, after hearing of the antics perpetrated by a few good people in Lexington, Ky.

The management of a small ad agency there called Cornett Integrated Marketing Solutions (yes, they do indeed have the dreaded solutions word in their name) decided it might be fine business to use LinkedIn to pester executives from the A&W Restaurants company.

A&W had recently moved to the area, so why not offer a good ol' Southern welcome -- by getting all 35 employees to contact A&W President Kevin Bazner and Director of Marketing Sarah Blasi at the very same time?

How's that for social?

As Mashable tells the tale, the A&W executives called the local FBI and suggested they were being subjected to a mass cult stalking.

Well, not quite.

These advertising people were (slightly) smarter than that. They oozed stories of their own personal experiences with (and in) A&W restaurants. There was nostalgia. There was even romance.

Yes, one fine member of this commercial troupe even had his first date with his wife in an A&W restaurant. They are, allegedly, still married.

It's odd how people choose to use LinkedIn. My future wife who currently won't acknowledge me sometimes creeps in under the guise of anonymity, just to make sure I'm not doing too well.

Others couch themselves as, for example: "Someone who works in the Staffing and Recruitment Field in a Soulless Cubicle Somewhere in Manhattan."

But to openly bomb a potential client with personal messages shows a beautiful marriage between naivete and chutzpah.

Indeed, A&W's Blasi told Mashable: "It was crazy. I went from thinking I was hacked to a few seconds later thinking: 'Wow, they took time to write personalized notes.'"

You will be animated into creating your own LinkedIn stalking technique when I tell you that the sensitive stalk-bombing secured Cornett a positive outcome. The company has won A&W's business.

As so many intelligent brands have proved, humanity is not to be underrated. Asking nicely -- and with genuine human thought -- is both powerful and disarming, especially when it's done through a potentially chilly medium like LinkedIn.

I wonder if Facebook will ever be at one with such a ridiculously human concept.