Using history to put your business a cut above the rest

History Smiths

Okay, I’m a history snob. I admit it. I’m from Boston. It’s who we are. It’s what we do. But guess what? So are thousands of other people in the Boston area, in New England, and far beyond in communities that embrace their local history. What does this have to do with your business? Simply put, if your business is located in a historical community and you are NOT embracing history — your own and your community’s – you are missing out on a tremendous marketing opportunity!

Two examples

An insurance agency in Salem, Massachusetts, recently celebrated its 100th anniversary – not just by throwing a party, but by commissioning a research study of the company’s history and incorporating the information and images into their website, company brochure, lobby display, and news releases. In a community like Salem, where history is a leading industry, integral to the city’s quality of life, and the source of bragging rights for its citizens, you better believe people sat up and took notice of this insurance agency! The owner’s existing customers’ loyalty was secured, and he attracted new ones in droves. The emotional appeal of the company’s history — cleverly interwoven with Salem history, which has its own emotional appeal — really worked for the owner.

Example #2

A bank in Ipswich, Massachusetts, funds the historical society’s monthly lecture series, hangs their works of art in the bank’s public areas, and displays a case of the society’s collection items. During the town’s recent 375th anniversary celebration, this same bank hosted the kick-off event and assigned the head of their community outreach department to co-chair the 375th parade (giving her an incredible opportunity to make cold calls on non-bank-related matters, make friends, and impress existing and new customers). Like Salem residents, Ipswich citizens are passionate about their local history. It’s a big part of why people move there and will never leave. These residents have long noticed this particular bank’s support of local history in ways that go far beyond writing a check. Not only does this bank successfully achieve an emotional appeal with its customers by supporting local history, it is clearly an integrated member of the historical community. That’s a real achievement for any business!

So, be a history snob!

Why not? Let’s put it out there. People who care about history tend to be well educated and well off. Those are good customers to have! If these customers have to choose between an insurance agency that embraces history and one that doesn’t, and between a bank that supports local history and one that doesn’t, which do you think they will choose? It’s a rhetorical question! So think about incorporating history into your own branding and marketing. It’s an opportunity for you to reach out to your local historical society or museum to forge a strategic business partnership. You can assist each other by providing the knowledge and expertise each of you has.

There are wins all around – your bottom line, their bottom line, and your community’s.