Back in the day most road trips had a big destination, whether it was the Grand Canyon, Disneyland, or just Grandma’s farm several states away. But along the way you could break up the trip with a few quick stops at roadside attractions. You could see them coming from miles away, thanks to brightly-colored billboards and other horizon-breaking features. The World’s Largest Penny in Woodruff, Wisconsin. The basket-shaped Longaberger headquarters in Newark, Ohio. The World’s 2nd Largest McDonald’s in Orlando, Florida.
While many of these places were little more than tourist traps, there were some real gems as well. Whatever the appeal, a great LOCATION could create anticipation before you arrived, give you a great experience while you were there, and stay memorable long after you left.
Since THE NEW STATE OF MARKETING Road Trip can’t visit all of you in person this month, we’re dropping by in spirit by making a stop in Headquarters, Washington. It’s not going to give the World’s Largest Cowboy Hat & Boots in Seattle a run for its money anytime soon. In fact, its primary appeal seems to be that the nearest Starbucks is just three miles away. But the name reminds us of assets that many manufacturing companies aren’t taking full advantage of: the elements of LOCATION.
While we don’t recommend that you start winding up another contender for the world’s second-largest ball of twine in your parking lot (last we checked there were at least three players in that game), we’ve noticed a related trend: companies who optimize their LOCATION elements create a memorable experience and attract more buyers.
What if the World Came to YOU?
LOCATION isn’t just about the place you do business. It’s any kind of direct contact with your home turf that can enhance your reputation with current and potential buyers. It’s what your buildings look like when customers visit. What your people are wearing. What buyers see on your company vehicles. How your employees talk to them on the phone. Even the sign over your door. LOCATION elements make your brand visible: on the road, in a warehouse, at a trade show, even in online video.
You can ignore these aspects of your business and write them off as things you don’t have time to mess with. You won’t know what you’re missing and neither will your buyers, because they won’t notice you at all.
Or you can use them to your advantage by being THERE, with “there” being where your customers are. Increasing your brand visibility with the elements of LOCATION makes it easy for buyers to remember that you were there. It makes you part of a shared story. You become familiar to buyers, setting the stage for the trust that leads to lucrative deals. It creates opportunities for you to encourage customers — and even your own employees — to perceive your business as a trustworthy partner.
Smart businesses use the elements of LOCATION to encourage familiarity, credibility, and trust. Like the successful roadside attractions of old, LOCATION elements attract attention, paying you back many times over by fostering buyer anticipation, providing great experiences, and building long-term loyalty. LOCATION elements also create an opportunity to shape the marketplace to your strengths by extending your brand culture, voice and personality into the real world.
You don’t need neon signs, a wax museum, or a gift shop to generate this kind of excitement. In fact, the primary tool that creates strong LOCATION connections is so simple that it’s a wonder so many companies are missing out on the benefits it delivers. Want to know what it is? Using clear, consistent brand messaging and visual cues on everything — from vehicles and buildings to company uniforms and invoices. (Of course, clean restrooms don’t hurt either.)
Incorporating the elements of LOCATION into your marketing make you look more professional, experienced, and worth doing business with — as well as having a surprising impact on the people who work for you.
See you down the road,
Your friends at FELT