The Holy Grail Found In A Small Pub

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Hearthside.

Walking into Jim’s Tap is like walking into the pub that all the beast slayers and bounty hunters hang out at after a long day of escapading, exchanging tales of adventure and whimsy over tall flagons of ale. The dim orange lighting and red carpet is accompanied by the warm glow of a fireplace illuminating a mounted boar’s head above its mantel. The walls are adorned with various medieval décor (including knight’s armor) hanging over the bar’s wooden tables and black chairs with silver-studded upholstery.

When I was a college student in Brookings, SD, Jim’s Tap was my bar. I and my social circle could frequently be found there next to the fireplace, tables pushed together, enjoying a bounty of brew (sometimes perhaps too bountiful) and exchanging our own tales of whimsy, our conversation getting louder and louder as the night ages. (My social circle was pretty big, comprised of many smaller, more close-knit cliques.) When we weren’t drinking tap beer we’d be downing Backpackers – a concoction unique to Jim’s Tap. Not much is known about the Backpacker other than the fact that it’s enchantingly delicious and neon green in color, which only adds to the bar’s fanciful mystique.

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Not my hog.

When I think of Jim’s Tap today, I think of the many laughs I shared around those pushed-together tables. I think of some of the greatest times I had with old friends and new. I think of the initial formative moments I spent there getting to know my now fiancé (who hailed from a neighboring clique), chatting and crushing on each other over the noise of our surrounding friends. I think of all this, set to a scene of perfect ambiance that sparked the imagination.

Every once in a while you come across a business that doesn’t need to talk you into liking it. It doesn’t need to have big sales promotions to keep customers coming back or launch social media campaigns with an inhumanly gregarious presence; it’s perfectly happy with its 133 Facebook Likes and sparse, punctuation-less updates. Sometimes businesses win consumers over by just being themselves, humbly doing what they do best. If they do it right, they can acquire what I think is the holy grail of business – true customer loyalty. This loyalty is not won by drink specials or fast service; it’s won by consistent positive experiences, experiences that turn into life-long memories.

So what makes Jim’s Tap so special to me? Why does it ignite such passionate nostalgia? Is it the boar’s head or the free snack mix? Nope, it is the memories. To me, Jim’s Tap isn’t just some bar; it’s a symbol of the good times. And if I lived in Brookings today, you can bet that I’d still be frequenting that old pub.

After living in Sioux Falls for about a year now, I have yet to find a Jim’s Tap replacement. Any recommendations? A mounted boar’s head is a plus.

– Andrew

More Than A Clown

More Than A Clown Jun 29, 2012

I know a guy who could probably write a book on public relations, or at least a chapter. He’s not a bigwig in a suite or an award-clenching hot shot. You might actually know him. He’s tall, has red hair, really big feet… his name is Ronald McDonald.

McDonald’s is one of our clients. When there’s a special celebration or promotion going on at a restaurant, Ronald McDonald is sure to be there, and it’s my duty to assist him. He signs autographs, takes pictures with customers, performs magic tricks for kids, hands out stickers and jokes around with the locals. I just carry his bag of magic and make sure no one messes with him.

When I assisted Ronald for the first time, I expected your run-of-the-mill clown, the kind that makes bad puns, smells like cigars, and pretty much repels every adult and child in his path. But I was wrong.

I was surprised to see the amount of joy that Ronald brought to customers. He put a smile on just about every single person’s face, young and old, with his sense of humor and welcoming character. People are really drawn to the guy. Sometimes customers will hang around the restaurant for the entire duration of Ronald’s stay just to see his antics. I’ve seen elderly women slow-dance with him, boyish grins light up the faces of tough guys, and people hugging him as if he was their long-lost father. It’s evident that Ronald really enjoys making people happy.

With Ronald there is no hidden sales agenda or marketing scheme. Yes, he’s tied to McDonald’s, but his sole purpose is to bring customers joy, that’s it.

I can’t put my finger on what it is about him that elates people so much. But for one thing, Ronald is a genuine people-person. And people appreciate authenticity, especially when it comes to interacting with a brand. So maybe people can pick up on Ronald’s sincere desire to make them laugh, to make them feel welcome, and to make them feel appreciated. And that may be the best kind of PR any business could hope to achieve.

– Andrew

 

Why Less Is More

Why Less Is More Mar 18, 2011

Less is MoreThere’s a reason people constantly use the expression “less is more.”

Because it’s true.

If a marketing piece can make its point in 3 words, why waste people’s time and effort by making them read 15? If a website only needs a few clean, simple pages to accomplish its goal, why load it down with 20 widgets, links and action items?

Each day, a marketer’s ability to catch a customer’s attention gets slimmer and slimmer. So when you actually do get a customer’s attention, you better make sure your marketing gets the point across quickly and powerfully.

I could probably spend a few more paragraphs explaining this further, but I might as well stop here. As we all know, less is more.

-Mike B.

Photo by Floriana. Thanks!

Marketing 101…Keep the money in the building.

Your accountant will be happy to know that there is a mathematical formula to sales and marketing.Prospects
X    Closing Ratio
X    Average ticket
=         $$$ Sales

Advertising recently worked on me and I became a prospect for a Martinizing Dry Cleaning location on our side of town.

I’m not a coupon clipper, but for some reason I was paging through a Shopping News coupon book and spotted an ad with coupons for Martinizing. Even though I’ve driven buy their location many times on the way to the soccer fields, I had never noticed the location on our side of town over by The Keg Chicken.

Having some extra cleaning to do, I thought I’d give them a try and save the 20% that the coupon offered all at the same time. The coupon was not good on same day service, which I did notice in the ad.

It was a later lunch and I arrived with cleaning in one hand, the coupon in the other, and cash in my wallet at about 1:30. It was Thursday and I wanted the cleaning on Saturday…two days on my Outlook Calendar and the one on the wall in the Kitchen.

That’s when I learned that the dry cleaning day doesn’t match the business day.  At 1:30, the day’s work had been completed, so I was actually living on Friday time at the cleaners. Since it was Friday on a Thursday, the cleaning I wanted on a Saturday was only one day away making the offer null and void.

Not appreciating advertising that seemed misleading, I gathered up the sport coats and apologized to the young lady at the counter that I would have to take it somewhere else.

I was a prospect, but she didn’t close the deal. And it wasn’t just the $30.00 or $40.00 that walked down the street…there’s another zero involved when you look at the amount of business that could have been garnered from the next twelve months of business, most of which would have been at full price without a coupon. (And that amount multiplies with the referral factor of a happy customer.)  The Average Ticket in this case is much more than the 30-bucks worth of cleaning that was lying on the counter.

So what’s the lesson? If you pay for advertising, want it to bring in new customers, want to use your investment to put a hurt on the competitors, and someone is ready to “pay me my money down”, please close the deal.

In this case, a simple education of a new customer about the store’s deadlines and cleaning schedules, along with a cheerful, “let me take care of it this time for you” would have gone a long way toward making the sale and building the business.

They did however prevent an unauthorized discount from occurring west of I-29.  I guess that’s what happens when it’s Friday on a Thursday.  And if Friday comes on a Thursday, do I get to start the weekend early?

– Leigh Anglin