Doug Burford’s FIVE SIMPLE THINGS TO INCREASE BUSINESS
1. Change your company name to tell what you do.
True story: A hundred year old charity that helps children who have been abused and neglected had a name that didn’t tell what they did and was impossible to remember. We changed their name from “Memorial Child Guidance Clinic” to “ChildSavers.” The new awareness helped them raise six million dollars. Another true story: A major furniture chain sends items that don’t sell back to their warehouse. Everyone knows a warehouse has great bargains, so we opened to the public and named it “The Dump.” The name was so unforgettable; “The “Dump” is now in six states, selling overruns and discontinued items from major manufacturers.
2. Use “non-ordinary” looking spokespeople to increase awareness.
True story: For “Christian Children’s Fund” we replaced a famous actress with a shaggy, friendly, bearded guy who resembled Santa Claus. He brought in a million sponsors for needy kids. Another true story: for Sampson Paint we hired real painters to paint a mansion and had them look at the camera and say, “Sampson, it’s the Painters Paint.” After that, their CEO sold the company for a small fortune.
3. Create a tagline that tells a story.
For Save The Children, we simply said, “Our name says it all.” For Farm Fresh grocery stores we said, “Virginia’s Grocery Store.” For Medical Careers Institute their graduates became “Everyday Heroes.” For Dominion Auto we said, “Trust us. Price us. See us.” For a fried chicken chain we said “A leg in your hand will put a smile on your face,” and sales soared.
4. Tell your audience what you want them to do.
True examples: For Christian Children’s Fund, we said, “Call This Number and you can save a child for 80 cents a day.” For Virginia’s largest furniture store we told customers “Come, but don’t bring money,” and that worked for twenty years. For a big greenhouse folks were told to “Take home a friend from the Great Big Greenhouse,” and they’ve been running the same campaign for thirty years. For a run down furniture store we had the building painted an ugly yellow and told customers to “Shop the ugly yellow building with half the normal markup.” The place was constantly packed and the owner retired rich.
5. Look for new and inexpensive ways to get the word out in addition to Social Media.
True stories – for Richmond Decorating, across the James River we put up signs at the tollbooths as a teaser that said, “We are too nice and we don’t charge enough.” Tollbooth operators got yelled at, until we put the clients name on the signs. Folks couldn’t forget their name and what they stood for. A Virginia plantation wanted to correct history, so we convinced the outdoor company to post unsold boards with “Virginia had the first Thanksgiving before Massachusetts had the first Pilgrim.” We got a nasty letter from the Governor of Massachusetts, but history stands corrected…sort of. For the sides of downtown buildings, businesses agreed to let us put up banners for “ChildSavers” that read, “You can be a ChildSaver.”