If a hotel can become famous for leading ducks across their lobby at 11:00 each day then certainly your business can become more well-known for some simple yet involving ritual that customers love to photograph and share with others. Make eye candy “first-evers” that attract reporters. In fact it’s surprising that so few businesses and other organizations see the power of memory-making rituals, and that we keep talking about the few that do. AFor example, instead of creating a new ritual a sister hotel simply imitated the duck walk. You can do better.
1. Think quirky
As all actors know, a cute kid or animal almost always steals the show. For example the annual ritual that raised $120,000 last year in a town of just 2,404 is the wiener dog race. People and their dogs came from all over the country for the chance to compete.
Now other towns imitate the races yet few seem to have sought out partners to cover the cost and increase the event’s visibility and features such as prizes. Think of pet food makers, shops, groomers and veterinarians as natural partners.
2. Create community around your ritual
3. Offer the unexpected
Instead of “just” offering a loaner car like the one you are getting serviced a British Volvo dealership also offered bikes, from its partnering business, as loaners. The dealership and the bike shop enjoyed three benefits – deepening the loyalty of their eco-minded customers, getting introduced to each other’s customers, and attracting worldwide media coverage. How well do you know your customers? Well enough so you can reach more of them with an unlikely ally that also serves them? Hint: why not ask your customers to tell you the names of two or three other businesses they also use and trust? It’s likely that you, too, will discover some valuable potential partners.
Volvo’s ritual was then topped by Fiat in Spain. By partnering with electric bicycle maker Trek it could make the same offer yet without the cost of buying and maintaining the bikes. Trek benefits by getting a warmed-up introduction to possible customers. Bonus benefits? Many of the people who saw the cyclists also saw the co-branded label, Volvo+Trek, on their bikes and many of the cyclists told their friends about their experience.
5. Give a souvenir sample whenever people have to wait – or even pause
For a client years ago I set up an experiment in which those waiting in a movie theater line were greeted by smiling college students who offered each person a free ice cream bon bon on a silver tray. One each. The students simply walked down the line, saying, “Like a tasty bon bon while you’re waiting? If you like it there are more inside.” When bon bon samples were given away outside, sales of movie theatre snacks went up an average of 26 percent.
Cost-saving hint: Make your ritual so popular that you can attract more contributing partners. Then you can offer your customers that ritual more often yet at a lower cost to you.
What unique and special customer-delighting holiday experience can you quickly conjure up with one or more partners to light up the lives of those you serve (or seek to serve) this holiday? I’d love to hear about it.