Scenario 1: Attack of the Killer Diner
The Smith family heads out on a road trip for their family vacation, with plans to hit all of the small towns and burgs along the way, sampling a little bit of Americana. They cruise the highway and spot signs for a local diner with "world famous burgers" and decide that would be their stop for the day. They arrive to a very well-kept and clean establishment that is anything but crowded, seating is a breeze for the family. The waitress saunters over to the table, smacking her gum like a cow chewing its cud, checking her new iPhone for texts from one of her many friends, no doubt. Her less than enthusiastic attitude causes concern for the family as they tentatively place their order for these "world famous burgers" and when they arrive, they realize that perhaps they are "world famous" for all the wrong reasons. They can only choke down part of the hog feed posing as burgers and decline the invitation to package what's left for the road. The waitress takes their payment, snorts at the family as they head out of the door. The family decides, then, not to take a scenic tour of the little community, taking their money and good tidings with them.
The impact is clear - the small community lost out on potential tourism dollars because this little diner chose to make the customer experience less than favorable and the quality of their product was far less than what advertised. The antique shops, museums, theater and other attractions missed out on making a positive impression and lost much-needed revenue.
Scenario 2: Shock and Crawfish
A community in Louisiana hosts an annual Crawfish Celebration that is billed as a family-friendly, entertaining venue replete with live music, rides and of course, every crawfish recipe known to humanity. It's organized by a small group of local business owners, the Chamber of Commerce and local residents whose goal it is to emphasize the spirit of their community and their heritage. They reach out to musicians statewide, inviting their attendance, offering them a cut of the take at the gates and oddly enough, it works. The excitement of the event alone creates a waiting list of musicians hungry to participate. The food, prepared by local chefs as well as residents steeped in the southern tradition is served with spirit, with enthusiasm and the taste buds are not disappointed. They have created a brand, including a logo that is sold on well crafted marketing plan and though small, it ends up being one of the largest events of its kind in the state.
Who benefits? Everyone in the community. The vendors, the local businesses, the community and even the town coffers are filled because of the influx of new revenue. The difference in the two scenarios presented is stark: In the first, there is no open communication of community spirit, the products delivered are not the products advertised, and there is an overall apathy. In the second, however, there is a common goal and it is one that most people in the community get behind with vigor.
How your business operates is a direct reflection on the community in which you do business and the aggregate results are in your hands. The person you sit in the pew next to on Sunday mornings could be losing money because your son's girlfriend is a lousy waitress and that, friends, is no way to run a successful business. However, if there is a positive, friendly atmosphere and creative marketing plan, the chain reaction is exceptional.
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