Starbucks has an iconic cup design that is a major part of their brand identity. Even still, they want to figure out a way to reduce the use of their cup and move towards a day where all cups are reusable, recyclable or compostable. And they’re backing that desire up with some cash. They co- sponsored a competition to come up with eco-friendly alternatives.

The winner, Karma Cup, has an absolutely brilliant plan: put up a chalkboard in the store and mark off every time someone uses their own reusable cup. Every 10th person will get a free cup of coffee. Genius! You’ll want to encourage your friends to do it because the more people do it, the more opportunities you have to win a free cup. The chalkboard is a great reinforcement tool. Read all about the contest and the great runner up ideas at FastCompany.

How could you use something like this in your own business? This goes beyond a personal frequent shopper card because it enlists your customer in actively recruiting other customers. Is there a product or service that you’d like to encourage the use of? Maybe it’s new and unproven and you could use a similar technique to motivate sampling.

Have a great weekend.