It’s 2011, and it’s time to blow up the old ways of thinking about
history. History is NOT a musty, dusty, irrelevant “thing” you visit in a
museum. Nor is it separate from our lives as citizens or business
people off in its own sphere.
Instead, history – our story – is an integral part of everything.
Business-wise, it can be a powerful marketing and public relations tool.
Because it gets you into non-sales environments, you will attract
customers, boost customer loyalty and your reputation.
So, please blow up any limiting notions of history that might still be
lurking in the recesses of your 2010 mind, and embrace a new and winning
Here are three things you can do to get it going.
1) Contact your historical society or public library to find out which historical events will be celebrated in 2011.
birthday? A significant anniversary? Women’s History Month? And if the
answer is none of the above, be proactive! Ask how you can help them
create a program or event. For a minimal investment, you will attract
enormous good will in your community and media attention if you play it
right. And your involvement should go far beyond writing a check. Really
get in there, and make sure you secure the highest possible visibility
by interacting with people in the planning stages, at the event, and
through all promotional activities.
2) Delve into your own history.
Many businesses wait until
they are celebrating a milestone anniversary before investigating their
history, but there are PR opportunities to be found at any time. Hire a
historian or researcher to do the work. Your historical society probably
knows one if you don’t. Find out your founder’s birthday and use that
as an excuse for a special offer, press release, and event. Look for
connections to potential markets – communities served in the past,
organizations your founder belonged to or supported, you get the idea.
Look for any possible legitimate link that can get you in front of new
audiences. (For more on this, we wrote the book!
3) Explore ways to partner with your historical society or museum.
them publish an article about your business’s history in their
newsletter. Co-host a lecture about your business or industry history.
Offer a special deal to your customers if they join the historical
society or museum. Display photographs from the museum’s collection and
promote their exhibits. You get the idea – find ways that forge a true
partnership, a joint venture, where both partners benefit economically.
Three simple action steps you can take with your new mindset shift. You
will probably have to enlighten others along the way, but that’s fine!
Once you start down this path and provide this kind of leadership, the
rewards will come back to you many times over.
You will benefit, so will the historical nonprofits involved, and so will the communities you serve.
But it all starts with your mindset shift!
2010 © Bonnie Hurd Smith
Smiths works with service-oriented businesses to use history — their own and
their community's — to achieve customer loyalty, referrals, and high status.
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