A view of the industry through the
eyes of independent and chain retailers.
5 Surefire Ways To Establish
Create a good story, then tell it.
by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender (May 16, 2011)
Establishing your brand is
essential to the growth of your business. It's more than just the
name on your store or your product, and it's much more than what you
sell. Marketing comes after you have established who you are, and
marketing is a day-to-day job that never ends. Here are five
surefire ways to help you establish your brand.
Combine Your "Store's Story" and "Story Selling" into One Big
There are shopping centers out
there filled with similar stores, staffed with similar people,
selling similar products, providing similar services, and charging
similar prices. You have to make sure that your customers see how
your store is different from all the rest.
Write a short story about who
you are and what makes your store different from every other store
selling the same things. List your passions, and tell the reader why
you got into this business in the first place. It doesn’t have to be
Pulitzer Prize quality; you just have to get your story down on
paper so that it can be told the way you want it to be told. Your
story is the foundation for all of your future marketing. You may
also want to ask your store associates to give you a hand by
challenging them to write their version of your Store's Story. Then
you can blend them all together.
Your advertising and marketing
efforts should also reflect your Store's Story. It has much more
impact than just item and price. Have you noticed all the television
ad campaigns that use Story Selling? Viewers relate to, and
remember, these commercials -- stories -- because they touch
something inside of them. When you break it down, the secret isn't
the big ad dollars these companies spend, it's that they use
customer testimonials to market their message. You can do that, too.
Customer testimonials are so
effective because of the simple fact that customers will believe
what other customers say about your store before they will believe
you. That "word of mouth" advertising tops the list of reasons new
customers come to stores. Make sure that you give customers an
opportunity to tell you how good you are, then use their quotes as
part of your marketing campaign.
Create a 60-Second "Elevator Commercial"
Have you ever been in an
elevator, at a networking function, or on an airplane when someone
asked you what you do, only to find yourself suddenly speechless? We
all have. You won’t miss another marketing opportunity if you turn
your Store’s Story into a 60- second synopsis of what you do.
Write it down and memorize it.
Then make sure that everyone involved in your store memorizes it,
too. Test them every once in awhile to make sure they really know it
and understand why it’s so important to get it right.
Create Unique Store Experiences
Shoppertainment! That wonderful
intersection where shopping and entertainment meet. Make sure you
have at least one in-store event or promotion planned for each month
of the year. If you're fresh out of ideas, drop us an email and
we’ll send you enough to make your head spin.
It's also a good idea to carry a
notebook and your camera or smart phone with you everywhere you go.
Now whenever something cool happens in your store, you’ll be able to
capture the moment, and use the photos in future marketing efforts.
Create Experiences that Connect Customers to Your Store
Customers will stay close to
your store if you give them a reason to. Classes, in-store events,
clubs, and crops are all good reasons.
Camille and John Akin, owners of
Ever After Scrapbooks in Carlsbad, California, host an annual event
that not only connects customers to their store, it attracts people
from other states -- even other countries!
Each year John and Camille host
a 24-hour Survivor Crop that benefits a charitable organization. The
first 24-Hour Survivor Crop was held in 2002, when the Akins and 56
tenacious croppers raised more than $8,000 for the Multiple
Sclerosis Foundation. Hosting an event like this is no easy task, so
the Akins were grateful the next year when several customers offered
to form the Survivor Crop Committee. It was this committee that
unanimously chose breast cancer awareness and research,
specifically, San Diego's Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure as its
fundraising cause. In the nine years Ever After has hosted Survivor
Crop, passionate participants have not only raised awareness of
breast cancer but also raised over $365,000 for Komen's grant
recipients. This year’s goal is $100,000. Click for more
Become a Shameless Self-Promoter
Did you know that nearly 80% of
the stories that appear in your local media came from a one-page
press release sent by someone like you who had a story to tell? So,
for the cost of a single stamp, a 30-second fax, or a
quicker-than-you-can-hit-send email, your store could become famous.
Email us for our easy-to-follow "How to Write a Press Release"
If you're too busy to handle the
public relations by yourself, then choose one person and promote him
or her to the exalted position of "Director of Public Relations."
Your Director will collect the names of local editors and reporters,
write and distribute your press releases, be your store ambassador
at local functions and Chamber of Commerce events, and more.
The goal here is to turn
occasional customers into loyal customers. And loyal customers are
not created simply because you sell neat stuff or have killer
customer service. Nope, a retail study showed that 70% of your
current customers will go somewhere else if that somewhere else is
more fun. You owe it to yourself to get involved with the things
that make your store more attractive to shoppers. And you owe it to
yourself to capitalize on the visibility these things can do for
KIZER & BENDER TO SPEAK AT THE CHA SUMMER
Rich and Georganne will conduct two seminars
at the CHA Summer Conference & Trade Show July 19-21 (with education
starting July 18) in Rosemont, IL.
1. "Advanced Social Media Strategies for
Retailers" (S110). It's Tues., July 19, 2:00 to 3:00 pm. Topics
include Tips To Improve Your Facebook Business Page ... How To
Create Tweets That Get Re-Tweeted ... Smart Ways To Promote Your
Business on Facebook and Twitter ... What -- and What Not -- To Say
to Encourage Customer Conversation ... How Much Time You Should
Invest Each Day in Social Media ... The Latest Tools Available To
Help You Evaluate Your On-line Effectiveness ... How To Measure Your
Marketing Success in Terms of Interaction and Sales ... Social Media
Sites You May Be Missing
2. "Time for a Change: Jump-Start Sales with Cross Over
Products -- for Paper and Scrapbook Retailers" (S117). It's Wed,
July 20, Noon to 1 pm. Topics to be covered include Things to Think
About When Selecting Your New Merchandise Mix ... How To Mine the
CHA Show Floor for New Ideas ... How and Where To Display Your New
Lines on Your Sales Floor ... How To Cross-Merchandise Your New
Additions with Your Current Categories ... Inventory Management
Must-dos ... How To Build a Buzz About Town
Online registration is now available at
(Note: Meetings & Conventions
magazine took a survey of meeting planners asking them to name their
favorite speakers/keynote presenters – and Kizer & Bender make the
list, along with such luminaries as Dr. Stephen R. Covey, Mike Ditka,
Bill Gates, Rudy Giuliani, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jay Leno, Colin
Powell, and others.
To read previous columns, click on the titles in the right-hand
KIZER & BENDER Speaking!
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103 North 11th Ave., Ste. 206,
St. Charles, Illinois 60174
Phone: 630-513-8020 | 24/7 Mobile: 708-347-2682 Fax: 630-513-8098
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