Selling the Community With Personal Experiences

 

December 8, 2017



A casual observation of advertising indicates success is in selling the experience, not the product.

Think about it. How many ads honestly admit “We got a pretty good product. Come buy some and find out.” Not many.

Instead, there is the vision of a hiker who has conquered a rugged peak and has settled down to an ice cold beverage he had in his pack, or the co-ed softball team who opened the cooler after winning the championship. The scene is descriptive enough the reader can almost feel the muscle aches from climbing the mountain and smell the dust from the winning run on the softball field.

The product, a well-known fountain drink or something else, is secondary to the experience. We are encouraged to live the scene vicariously by taking part in the product. And it works. It must or else the advertising industry would not be spending billions to tell us where to live, what to drive, what to eat, drink and wear.

The same theory applies to any given community. A couple of travelers stop at a random diner, attracted by as little as availability or as much as the welcoming facade. They may be on a cross-country adventure, a day trip from a nearby town or researching a new home town. The piece of pie, cup of coffee or evening meal are important, but secondary to their first impressions. The people they meet from exiting their car to returning after visiting the cafe are the first community ambassadors that will affect their judgement of the area. They will make the trip positive, maybe convince them to consider the move, or to the negative and keep them driving down the road.


There are those who can recall the changing of a community with the gleam in their eye as if watching history change before them. They can tell a newcomer of the flood that caused relocation of a significant industry. They may know the history of a train robbery and how it changed law enforcement in the county. Experienced folk in the area will know of landmarks that can still be found off of the beaten path. The bright lights and obvious thoroughfares have their places, but people also have a curiosity of the first settler's home, the original schoolhouse in the county, stage stops from the territory period, or maybe where a movie producer filmed a scene for a major motion picture.

These stories often “sell” a community as more than it first looks.

It is the telling of these stories that make a town a community, and the people who are willing to tell those stories that make a visitor's unexpected stop magical.

The question is who is willing to be available with a pot of coffee, a soft chair and a warm smile to share those stories with people stopping off of the highway. The storytelling and sharing of forgotten facts could be what brings more interest to the area.

It's up to residents to decide how each will make their mark on the future. Is it through positive marks and cooperation, or the negative and "all for me" approach.

 

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