Great Ideas for your Small Business:
Hire a Mascot or a Celebrity
Brenny watt didn’t set out to find a mascot for her small store, but she ended up with a famous cat. “One day, a stray cat wandered in, and we started to feed her,” said Watt. “Then one night, we accidentally locked her inside the store. The next morning, when we came in, she was asleep in the window. She became an instant celebrity.” People, especially kids, loved Lily the cat and came to visit her weekly. To raise money for a local school, Watt decided to host a “Tea with Lily.” It was easy to promote the event, because by then most people knew who Lily was.
Today Watt works as a freelance writer, but she remembers her famous cat mascot. “She was wonderful PR for us and loved her unusual home.” But remember, if it’s appropriate to have a pet in your business, make sure it’s a people-loving one.
Some small businesses are fortunate enough to hook up with a celebrity spokesperson. David Blumenthal, president of Lion Brand Yarn Co. in Manhattan, learned that Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White loved to crochet. He immediately contacted her agent to ask if she would be interested in becoming the spokesperson for their line of yarns and crochet patterns.
They made a deal that has endured through the years.
White worked with Lion on two illustrated pattern books on crocheting. She consistently wows customers when she appears at trade shows on behalf of Lion Brand Yarns, demonstrating her crocheting skills and emceeing a fashion show of crocheted creations.
It doesn’t make sense in every single case, but many small businesses benefit enormously from a mascot or spokesperson. It’s a component of your marketing plan that can help establish a brand identity for your product and stir up a good deal of excitement, too.