Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Southwest Rap

Rapper's Delight
Have you seen the Southwest Rap video? It's a YouTube sensation that features energetic flight attendant David Holmes, who puts his own spin on the pre-flight instructions that attendants give to passengers before every flight. The video went viral about a year ago and it demonstrates Southwest's unique take on customer service — the airline encourages its flight attendants to be creative in their work and to have fun at their job.

I love the Southwest Rap. I think it shows how much fun Southwest is as an airline, and it makes me want to be a part of that fun during my next flight.

That's a Rap
I think Southwest should capitalize on the video's popularity by holding a Southwest Rap Video Contest. Southwest should ask people to submit their own Southwest Rap to the company's YouTube channel. Video submissions could be about how much people love Southwest or their favorite places to fly with Southwest. The topic would be open to interpretation. Southwest would allow people to vote online for their favorite video, and the winner would receive several free round-trip flights. Southwest would require that each video submission be less than 30 seconds so that they could show the winning submission on a tv commercial.

I think many people would jump at the opportunity to win free flights and fame. Southwest would get hundreds of submissions, generate tons of goodwill among current and prospective customers, and would do something that no other airline has ever done. So what are you waiting for, Southwest? Start a contest and see how it goes. I've got some new dance moves I want to try out and they'll fit perfectly with my own Southwest Rap.

Add This To Your To-Do List

I originally wrote the following to-do list advice after I wrote a post that called for David's Bridal to run a contest for the best wedding entrance. My advice still rings true:

Strike while the iron is hot. Be willing to turn a portion of your marketing strategy on a dime if you can do it in a way that taps into a hot trend. But don't put all of your eggs into the trend's basket. Like all things, trends come and go, but if you're the only company in your market to capitalize on a huge trend, you'll reap huge rewards.

This will be my final post before going to Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo for three weeks. I look forward to all that I will see and I'll be taking notes on the coolest marketing methods while abroad so that I can share them with you here. I'll be back in mid September.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Exclusivity of Butterbeer

Florida or Bust
Orlando, Florida is the only place on Earth in which you can buy a glass of official Butterbeer, the imaginary drink that author J.K. Rowling wrote about in each of the seven Harry Potter books. You can only buy Butterbeer at Universal Studio's "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" exhibit, part of Universal's "Islands of Adventure" theme park.

Rowling was personally involved with the creation of the recipe for Butterbeer. Certainly, she and her business partners had offers to license the product and sell it online and in stores around the world, but she declined all offers in an attempt to make the theme park the only place in which the drink can be bought.

In doing so, Universal Studios has created exclusivity for Butterbeer. If you want some, you're going to have to go to Orlando to get it.

If You Brew It, They Will Come

Having a product or service that is exclusive to your business is a very powerful word of mouth marketing tool. It gives people something to talk about. The exclusive thing that you offer doesn't need to be referenced in the best selling series of books of all time; it just has to be memorable and great within your product/service category or your location. Maybe the dessert your restaurant offers is one-of-a-kind in name and taste. Or, your oil change business is the only one in town with massage chairs in its waiting area. No matter how big or small, an exclusive, desirable product or service offering will generate great results for your business.

Add This To Your To-Do List

What is your business known for? If you don't sell the most unique product or service in your category, you can always find some small way to do something a little different to get people talking about you. Do some brainstorming — start small and see where your ideas take you.

There's never a lack of ideas.

PS Butterbeer is absolutely fantastic. It tastes like butterscotch root beer with a creamy, delicious, foam head on it. Congratulations and thanks to all those involved in its creation!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Famous Dave's Plays the Name Game

Calling All Daves
On August 1st, 2010, barbecue restaurant Famous Dave's ran a great promotion in which it offered a free entrée to people whose first name is Dave, David or Davy. Anyone with the middle name of Dave, David or Davy received a half price entrée. I love this promotion because it's buzz-worthy, fun, and promotes the Famous Dave's brand very well. And doesn't everyone know someone named Dave that they could tell about this?

Since learning about Famous Dave's promotion, I've been thinking about other stores, restaurants, and products that could run a similar promotion. Join in the fun—what would you add to this list?!
  • Ann Taylor — Free necklace to anybody named Ann or Annie
  • Ashley's Furniture — 15% discount to anybody named Ashley
  • Carl's Jr — Free burger if your name is Carl
  • Claire's Boutique Free pair of earrings for anyone named Claire
  • Dick's Sporting Goods Buy one, get one free to anyone named Richard or Dick
  • Eddie Bauer 30% off if your name is Ed, Edward, or Eddie
  • Jersey Mike's Free sub if your name is Mike
  • Jimmy Johns Free sandwich if your name is Jim, Jimmy, or John
  • Papa Johns Free bread sticks for anyone named John or all dads
  • Sam's Club $20 gift card to anyone named Sam, Samuel, or Samantha
  • Victoria's Secret 50% off if your name is Victoria
Add This To Your To-Do List
If you work in a business that's named after someone, have some fun with it and run a promotion for people with the same name. Or, if you sell a product like Mike's Hard Lemonade, distribute coupons for freebies for people with the same name as your product. And as I learned while thinking up the above list and more, if your name is Mike, there are a lot of products named after you!

There's never a lack of ideas.

Speaking of Mikes, thanks to Mike Labowicz for the inspiration for this post and to the lovely Monica Scarpino for thinking up some great examples with me.