My Cup of Tea

Each night, my wife and daughter sit down together, fire up the laptop and go on Facebook to see who’s winning the McAlister’s “Tea Town USA” contest.

A restaurant chain that wants to be known for its great-tasting iced tea, McAlister’s is promoting a contest where people across the U.S. compete for a $7,500 makeover for a local non-profit. As you can imagine, Joplin needs a lot of help in this department, so the word is spreading here. You win by voting every day and acquiring bonus points for activities such as getting the event covered by the local news or having the best entry in a photo contest. We are having fun with the kids by checking in each day and competing for the top prize for Joplin.

What’s the result for McAlister’s? They’ve communicated that they make incredible tea, they have 67,000 people liking their Facebook page, they have towns across the U.S. trying to get their contest covered by the local media and, on top of it all, McAlister’s is creating RAVING FANS for their eatery because they’re doing something that could help local communities.

Are you bringing people together?

My question to you is, “Are you connecting with your customer base?” Keep in mind that talking at your customers with advertising is not connecting. Do you create some sort of emotional spark with your audience? Here are a few ideas as to how to make that happen for your product or store:

  1. Add some fun to what you do! A contest is a good idea, but it could also be an event or promotion that will make people smile. For instance, The Newark Bears, a minor league baseball team, decided to take advantage of a popular news story to garner interest in their promotion. When Britney Spears was caught driving with her infant son in her lap instead of a secure baby seat, the Bears decided to hold a “Britney Spears Baby Safety Night.” Any fan that dressed as a baby, brought an actual baby or just brought a baby toy got in for free. Everybody in the stands received a brochure on baby safety. (Okay, maybe not this exactly, but you get the idea.)
  2. Whatever it is, create some buzz. Use your social media network to push out your message and create new fans of your campaign.
  3. BE CREATIVE! I can’t stress this one enough. My litmus test for you is the following: Will people tell others about your event? Yes, a big payday will help you out, but doing something that your industry or competitors have never done before will help even more.
  4. Stay on message. Make sure that whatever you do, there is a clear business objective motivating it and you support that objective during the execution of your event.

Do yourself a favor and get out of your comfort zone. Do something different and drive some serious interest in your company or products. Doing the same old thing just gets you the same old results. Put the top down, people!

What am I missing here? What are you thinking?

A special thanks to everyone who is voting for Joplin in the McAlister’s “Tea Town USA” contest. Now, people from competing towns are voting for us because of the recent tornado. Hard to put into words what that means to the people here!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the thinking of the company I work for, or anyone else with whom I am affiliated. Except my wife of course, who is good at telling me what not to say.

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