Holiday Branding for Your Local Business
5 Tips to Make Your Small/Local Business Stand Out to Potential Customers During this Holiday Shopping Season
Welcome to my second holiday blog that mentions my very favorite movie to watch during the most festive time of the year – A Christmas Story. And if you are like me, anytime you see the word “fragile” at ANY point during the year, you likely still refer to the dad’s humorous pronunciation of that word prior to opening the infamous giant crate. Fraj-eelay – it must be Italian!
But it’s the reveal inside that crate that has become one of the most infamous TV moments – as he pulls out his “major award” which, to the chagrin of his wife, turns out to be a large leg lamp that winds up as the focal point of the house for anyone walking down the street at night. Passers-by stop to see it, overwhelmed with interest, theoretically allowing those same passers-by to draw their own conclusions as to what it was “advertising” – why it was there, about the family, etc.
And you, as a local business, want to do the exact same thing – albeit with a bit more controlled messaging and strategy behind it that allows the audience to arrive at a conclusion that eventually benefits all parties involved.
So, how can we “leg lamp” your local business holiday advertising strategy?
1. PLAN TO TELL YOUR STORY TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Just Where Should the Lamp Leg Go?
The dad in A Christmas Story had many options as to where to post his lamp, and in his case, he wanted the entire neighborhood to know about it. If it were just the family he cared to show it off to, he could’ve put the lamp in an interior room and perhaps turned it on at any point during the day. Or, he could’ve brought it to work to show it off to his colleagues if that was the intended audience. But to maximize his goal of his neighbors knowing that he won a major award, he chose the front living room window, and at night where it would glow brightest.
Branding in the real world is similar – sure, if you had all the money in the world you could blast your message on any medium to everyone. Or, you can trim back on wasteful ad spending by narrowing things down a bit to who you really want to speak to. For instance, using Cable TV, you can pick very targeted networks. For example, if you are in the home furnishings business, various home improvement-focused programs or networks like HGTV may be your best bet. Or perhaps you want to reach someone exhibiting signs that they are actively looking for what you offer – there are many online and mobile solutions that can get you just that. The more that leg lamp is in a place that is potentially frequented by neighbors, the more chance that every neighbor will see it each time they pass on by.
2. GET NOTICED REPEATEDLY
How Many Nights Do I Turn On the Lamp?
Statistics say you need 5-7 brand impressions before someone will even remember your brand – get that leg lamp turned on not just for one night, but for several. It may take a few days before a repeat passerby tells a friend “Oh, by the way, you gotta see this!” or before someone who was focused on something else actually turns to notice that glowing window of your house.
Here’s one way to get glowing in the night sky – get in with your traditional advertising media like Cable TV, which is tailor-made for small businesses (If you've previously thought otherwise, I implore you to click to this blog that’ll clear up things like how much it really costs...Can you say a tank of gas?) Using TV, you get the opportunity to tell your story on a medium that is one of the most trusted and customer-connected, not to mention the ultimate platform for storytelling.
3. TELL YOUR STORY THROUGH VIDEO
How Can I Best Tell My Leg Lamp Story?
There is nothing like video to tell a story – nothing is even close. Anyone who has seen A Christmas Story can remember the leg lamp scene because if a picture tells a thousand words, a video tells millions. I couldn’t possibly do that scene justice by talking it through to a person who’s never seen the movie. So why would you rely only on static images and/or words on a web page to tell yours? What’s the curb appeal of your homepage – does it instantly welcome your visitors with a video that professionally tells your story and makes them want to stay and engage more? Do your online advertisements grab the attention of the right people or are they just statically saying “You may not know us, but you should check out our lamp in the front window.”
Look at the facts – today 85% of larger businesses now have internal staff and resources to produce videos, and that’s no accident. They throw a lot of resources into doing their homework to find out what’s effective – so yes, they know how people engage and that 4x as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it – you should follow suit. And you don’t need your own internal staff to be successful, there are numerous experts like Cox Media who can produce a great professional company video, TV commercial, online ad, social media testimonials, you name it, to get people paying attention to you. And the great news is that it can be done very effectively on a “small business budget.”
If the last video stat doesn’t get you, how about the fact that 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video – absolutely startling for any brand today. The leg lamp that’s on at night is very likely to also gather crowds online today – people these days don’t even need to physically walk up to your location. Are they more apt to share the “I saw a leg lamp” written story, or the same thing as a video it in all of its glowing splendor with the owner outside telling the hilarious story of just how he came to win it complete with the purple cat that was also part of the story? (I made that part up, but you get it.)
4. TELL YOUR STORY, THEN INCITE ACTION
You’ve Seen The Leg Lamp, Now Do This!
Upon telling your story, suggest that the audience take a next step or give them a simple “call to action.” Offer them up something they can’t say no to. Maybe you are a restaurant and your online video story or TV commercial was so deliciously good-looking that a free appetizer offer is all you need to break the ice with that engaged potential customer. When 87% of people happen to use a second screen like a mobile phone while watching TV, why would you not entice them to grab that offer online right at that moment? Even if you aren’t selling, you can do something as simple as telling the engaged viewer to go somewhere online to continue the story you just started or to even share with others (perhaps a story about community involvement, hiring campaign, etc.). Maybe you want to start a trend to get others to get their own leg lamp and be “a thing” – while you have the audience’s attention, give them simple instructions on how to do so – a website to visit, a phone number to call, or even an online click to a place where you can request to be contacted.
5. DO EVERYTHING MENTIONED ABOVE,
And When They Need You, They’ll Be More Likely to Search for YOU Instead of for the Solutions You and Your Competitors Offer
Face it, it’s likely that not everyone needs whatever you offer right now. But when they do, whether it’s their A/C unit going haywire, legal representation, or they’re just hungry for something to eat – Will they remember to look for you specifically or search for what you offer and hence find your competitors too. And if they spot you in a sea of competitors, will they recognize you? What conclusions will they draw?
Bottom line, get that leg lamp glowing at the right time to the right audience, let others know what it is and when able, tell more about that leg lamp through a highly engaging video story that can easily be understood and shared by others. Also plan to do it often in order to catch as much of your audience as frequently as possible.
Most importantly, don’t wait, because I guarantee you that your competitors are also hard at work at their own leg lamp story aimed at making your business’ holiday season as Fraj-ee-lay as possible.
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