by Jeff

The Alamo Draft­house, pretty much the coolest movie the­atre chain on the planet, came out with the fol­low­ing pro­mo­tion for the sum­mer of 2012:

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Yup.  That’s pretty much PURE GENIUS.

They aren’t play­ing up the tan­gi­bles of the movie busi­ness — the lat­est release, the avail­abil­ity of 3-D IMAX or dolby sound, or say the com­fort of ultra-plush seat­ing — they’re tap­ping into the intan­gi­ble draw that many or most 40 and 50-somethings have for the pop-culture mile­stones of their youth.  

As a result of this emo­tional draw that they pur­posely tapped into, Alamo Draft­house will likely pay less to show these movies and draw large crowds of very appre­cia­tive, excited audi­ences — crowds that likely wouldn’t have come out for the lat­est and great­est sum­mer block­buster fare.

Why Not Your Business?

Sure, The Alamo Draft­house is IN the enter­tain­ment busi­ness. It’s prob­a­bly eas­ier for them to gen­er­ate excite­ment around a night out at the movies than it might be for, say, a plumber to tap into the power of nos­tal­gia. But it’s not impos­si­ble for the plumber. How about sell­ing claw-foot tubs big enough to let a 6-foot adult stretch out and float, the way you used to be able to when you were a lit­tle kid?  Sort of a feel like a kid again, bath­tub for the afflu­ent type promotion…

Maybe you’re reject­ing that spe­cific idea, and that’s fine, the point isn’t that that’s a great idea, but that it’s pos­si­ble for most busi­nesses to inject an ele­ment of sen­ti­ment and nos­tal­gia and excite­ment into their busi­ness rather than resign­ing them­selves to push­ing noth­ing but tangibles.

Because when you’re noth­ing but tan­gi­bles, you’re a com­mod­ity, or on the road to commodity-ville. 

So ask your­self this:

  • What are your cus­tomers will­ing to re-call, com­mem­o­rate, and cel­e­brate with you?
  • How can you help them do that?
  • What kind of anniver­sary or con­nec­tion or his­tor­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion could you choose to celebrate?

Most impor­tantly, how could YOU use nos­tal­gia and sen­ti­ment in your business?