campaign for it. It had initial success in the San Francisco area, and by Christmas 1975,the “Pet Rock” had become a national success story. Estimates are Dahl sold nearly 1.5 million “Pet Rocks” at roughly $4 each. By February of 1976, sales had slowed so dramatically the product was discontinued.
What started out as a successful funny joke turned into a successful local product, which in turn morphed into a national icon of pop culture. Amazing!
A current client of mine, a child care center, recently held a FREE festival for the community – Games, prizes, food, ice cream. It was a party for current families of the facility, and a way to interact with the surrounding community on a more personal, welcoming level. Turnout was not “huge,” but about twice what was expected. A small success.
Several attendees of the event enjoyed it so much, they chose to enroll their children at the child care center. In addition, one of the families had just moved into a new subdivision in the area, and recommended this child care center to their neighbors. Additional families have since joined, and the child care has become the “official child care provider” of this new subdivision.
A small success with a FREE community festival turned into 20+ new children enrolling at the child care center. As you plan and implement events & marketing ideas for your business, keep in mind even the smallest success can lead to large rewards. Don’t be afraid to try things, and don’t get frustrated by a “perceived” lack of success. You may not always end up with a “Pet Rock,” but you may acquire loyal customers who spread the word about your business.
I've noticed how these solicitations for donations have become either routine, spoken quickly and with little emotion, or an uncomfortable social interaction for both the cashier (not wanting to ask) and the customer (trying to find an “appropriate” excuse to say no.)
While I applaud these partnerships between charity and business, I fear this new practice has taken all the emotion and personal connection out of the process. Charitable giving seems more of an emotional investment, not a retail transaction.
In a previous position, I used a local animal shelter to provide “FREE” gift wrapping during the holidays. A table would be placed in a high-traffic area of the store, proper signage given, a donation jar front and center, pamphlets & brochures for the charity available, personnel from the charity working the table, and even adoptable animals from the shelter on hand. A connection was made, not just a donation.
Small businesses can often be a great outlet for charities to work with, especially smaller, lesser known charities. I would urge all small businesses to find a charitable connection in your community to get behind. Use your position to help raise awareness and funds. Have fun with it. Find things to benefit both customers and the charity. Most importantly, remember the cause – Keep the spirit and the emotion attached. It will provide greater benefits to everyone involved.
Read. Learn. Laugh.
Random thoughts, comments & opinions.