Are you the first? The oldest? What are you doing about it?

History Smiths

I recently read an ad for a local credit union that claims to be the first one of its kind in my area. How interesting, I thought, and I went to their Web site to learn more.

There was the tag line again, with their founding date, and that was it. No history whatsoever! What a missed opportunity!

This credit union happens to be about a hundred years old, and it was founded to cater to a specific immigrant community. It must be a fascinating story that many people will resonate to. Especially today, as more and more people walk away from large, impersonal banks, what a wonderful way for this credit union to establish a personal connection with potential customers by celebrating their/local history.

Are you in a similar situation? If you are the “first,” the “oldest,” the “earliest,” or whatever you are claiming, please tell your story! Your customers will love it.

Once you’ve done the research and you have information and images, you can:

• Add a history section to your Web site

• Install a display in your lobby and host an opening event

• Produce a special brochure

• Publish a book about your history

• Schedule an all-staff meeting where the historian you hire will tell your story (big morale booster!)

• Ask to publish an article in your historical society’s newsletter

• Sponsor a talk at your public library about your history

• Prepare now to celebrate your next milestone anniversary

These are just a handful of ideas to get you started, and you will, of course, promote the heck out of each one! It all starts with knowing your history, and for that you could:

• Hire a historian or researcher

• Contact your historical society for assistance; this might be a service they provide

• Contact the reference librarian at your public library to let them know what you are doing; they may also be able to recommend someone to help you

Whatever you produce, please remember to donate a copy to your public library and/or historical society. Your business is part of local history, and they should have your information available for other researchers.

Telling your historical story will get you attention, gratitude, and customers. If you are already bragging about it, why not follow through with real information?