By: Shelly Sobol
What is it about green beer and St. Patrick’s day that go hand in hand? You can’t have one without the other. You can’t celebrate the Irish holiday without your ceremonious glass and you can’t drink green beer any other day of the year- because at that point it just feels like leftovers. So when you break it all down, it’s about having things “just right”. The right glass, at the right watering hole, on the right day. Don’t believe me? Ask if this light eyed, freckled Irish lassie who lives in a college town has ever missed her annual green beer! (The answer is no)
Maybe it’s luck (yes, pun intended) or maybe it’s success from time management and prioritizing. Hear me out on this one! There is a lot that goes into guaranteeing that someone has their infamous green beer just the way they like it… therefore we should really give those college students who party all day more credit for figuring this out.
1. Listen: A solid week before the holiday, your city is advertising a multitude of different vendors selling the emerald beverage. Ads are located on the radio, billboards, newspapers and social media. Visitors have a need and Company X can fill it! The same goes for company branding year-round. Branding a company through different avenues all year long and at times including a call to action will ensure that when clients need a service, yours will be top of mind. As humans, our strongest ties are advertisements that include an emotional element (think the recent Budweiser commercials with the puppies and horses). How can your organization fill an emotional need or how can you remind them how they felt the last time you delivered a service/good? Listening to them will help you bridge that gap. I’m more likely to go to a bar on St. Patrick’s because I’ve been there before for the holiday, been there on a regular night or because word of mouth has given positive reviews. Find a way to tap into that!
2. Strategic planning: The reality is we’ve all been there before. You put on your best spirited outfit and show up thirsty just to be told by the bartender that there is no more left! You’re devastated! Before this happens to you take time to consider your future venue. Are you hitting the bar that’s been open since 8am where all the ‘young people’ are that don’t have this little thing called a J O B where it’s shoulder to shoulder? More than likely, they won’t have enough for you by the time you get there at 6 p.m. Maybe that’s why you should consider the bar that doesn’t open until that afternoon or evening, which is when you’ll show up. Finding a vendor for your company is the same concept. Your organization has to find the right fit for what they need and currently are looking for at that time… sort of a Goldilocks mentality (“just right”). You can’t base your decision on the cheapest, closest, most convenient option or the one all your friends chose. Your final choice may conveniently include those characteristics, but select on the combination, not just one factor.
3. Experience: Green beer at the end of the day is still just beer. Usually cheap beer at that. It’s a novelty after all! But again, there is an emotional tie that goes with it- memories of holiday’s past out with friends that make you look forward to the next one and the whimsy of it only being available for a limited time. It’s the overall experience of the day (location, people you’re there with, music, etc) that makes that connection. I can prove by stating that one of our most popular places to visit on St. Patrick’s day is a Mexican restaurant. Don’t ask me how or why! But they are doing something right obviously. They’ve taken something that “isn’t theirs” so to say, and revamped to make it their own. They’ve made an experience for guests. Customer service and attention to detail on deliverables will win people over every time despite the setting. Something I learned at marketing course offered by Tallahassee Society of Association Executives was to always make it about what you’re customer can get out of it, not what your company can do for them. Read that again and let it sink in! So make sure the vendor employee culture and the experience you share is what stands apart.
The more your company is aware of how it can fill a void and what its future clients are looking for, the better you can bridge that gap and be the choice they need. Our office has spent nearly six years (which is almost how long I’ve been working here as a Program Manager) creating a culture our employees are happy with, and an experience our vendors and clients can enjoy. It makes all the difference!
Now if I could convince ownership to let us have a green beer be our branding gift to potential vendors and clients, I would feel like Goldilocks….this Partners green beer is just right!