Your Messaging: Trick or Treat?
Halloween is just around the corner and once the ghosts and goblins are put away for another year everyone will begin preparing for Thanksgiving and the year-end holidays. It will be New Year’s before you know it.
In our neighborhood, Halloween is an event of epic proportion. So much so, you probably have to list it on your seller’s disclosure.
First, we have in excess of 300 trick or treaters every year. Rain or shine. Yes, you read that right and some years we break the 400 barrier—all within a span of 2-1/2 hours.
How and why is this possible?
Our neighborhood is a cluster of about 90 homes all situated fairly close to one another and we are surrounded by a much larger neighborhood where the homes are much farther apart. In the geographic mix is a private country club, so once our streets are closed to traffic at 6:30PM, the golf carts start to arrive, full of kids, some even pulling flat-bed hayrides with 10 or more tots in tow. It’s such a hoot that many parents come along for the ride and follow their hordes at street level as the kids scurry from house to house. It reminds me of Bourbon Street on Saturday night.
As a professional marketer, it also reminds me on a number of levels about the power of brand, market, positioning, messaging, etc.
Obviously, Halloween in our neighborhood is a local, once-a-year thing. But, it happens every year like clockwork. The product is always consistent. The location and experience is always the same. So the kids and their parents come back willingly year after year.
It’s the type of unique franchise every company aspires to achieve.
I am often amazed when companies struggle to capture in words their mission, their goals, their unique value proposition, and do so in a way that makes it easy for everyone to understand their franchise. It’s almost as if we’re so proud of how we do things that we forget to express the reasons why customers do business with us in the first place. For Apple, it’s change the world. For Disney, it’s make people happy. For GE, it’s imagination at work. You get the picture.
I’m willing to bet our 300-400 annual Halloweeners don’t talk to their friends about the details of putting on their costumes and makeup, or how many kilowatt hours they used charging their golf carts for the ride around our neighborhood. On the other hand, they can quickly lay out for their classmates how they had the best time on Halloween—90+ houses in less than 2-1/2 hours and lots of good candy to show for it. What’s more, decades from now they’ll be telling their grandchildren about it.
After all, isn’t that what good times and good branding is all about?