Bust of Cas Walker at the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee, USA. Walker was a well-known East Tennessee businessman and politician. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cas Walker: Promotion by Unusual Tactics
When I first moved to Tennessee in 1966, one of the most popular grocery chains in the region was the Cas Walker Stores. I couldn't help but laugh when I first saw this guy on his television commercials--he was so countrified and sounded like he had hardly any idea what he was doing. But as I came to learn, Cas Walker was a marketing genius.
Cas started his first stores in the 1920s during the Great Depression. Low prices made his stores a favorite of blue collar white and black customers alike. In order to boost business he resorted to unusual tactics to attract attention.
In one of his most famous stunts he threw live fryer chickens from the roof of his store. Whoever caught a chicken got to keep it. When he saw how sales boosted on that first day he did this he turned it into a weekly Saturday event. Sometimes as many as three thousand people showed up to try and catch one of those chickens. Then afterwards, many of those people would go shopping in the store. Cas won the hearts of the common folk and turned them into regular customers.
Later Walker sponsored radio and television shows that featured country music and his own homespun wisdom and commercials done by Cas himself. He was not some slick talking announcer, but he came across as one of the common folk. He used the unusual tactic of turning himself into a local celebrity rather than hire attractive smooth talking professionals.
The Cas Walker show was a East Tennessee television mainstay for many years. The show introduced artists like Dolly Parton and gave the Everly Brothers a career boost. Many top name country artists appeared on the Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour. Some may have thought ol' Cas to be crass and crazy but he had a natural sense of what caught the attention of his customer base.
Here's a brief clip to give you an idea of what I'm talking about:
Try Something Different
Like Cas Walker you should determine your customer base and find out what will catch their attention. Free stuff always gets attention, but don't let it backfire. The point in giving something away is to get the recipient to like you and to hopefully encourage them to buy another one of your products. Entice them into the store so they'll see what else you have and pay for the next item.
There's nothing wrong with a gimmick if it makes sense and attracts attention. You don't want a gimmick to distract people from what you're doing, but give them enough of a sample to make them curious. When you see something that is working well for someone else, you might want to try your own version of it. However if everyone is doing the same thing then maybe you need to come up with your own idea.
Familiar old tactics can be fine if they're tried and true, but they should not be your only strategy. Try new ideas. If those ideas don't work then either find a way to make them work or try something else. Stay in keeping with who you are and what your product is. Unusual tactics can attract attention, but they can also become a part of your branding. Protect your brand so you aren't having to resort to damage control later on down the road.
And now some unusual blogs:
With a name like Clay Baboons you know you're heading into some funky territory. Stephanie seems to have a thing about clay and funny little beings made out of the stuff.
Maybe a blog about U2 isn't all that unusual, but it's a fitting choice for the letter U. Join Deena On the Road with U2 and sing along with Bono and the boys. Lyrics are included.
A blog that is not especially unusual other than being unusually colorful and having some nice poetry is a blog that begins with the letter U. Anna's Universal Gibberish is a pleasant place to go for a getaway.