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Showing Your Values

I am digging through old archives of our store. One of the Core Values of our business is Nostalgia. We are putting together a display of old pictures and old advertisements from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Tim Miles wrote a great post on whether or not you should use how long you’ve been in business as part of your advertising. You know, phrases like “serving your family since 1979.”

My answer to that is… only if your start date has something to do with the Core Values of your store. What happened in 1979 that got you to start serving families? Why do you serve families? Why does 34 years of history mean anything?

Nostalgia is part of our culture. We sell toys and baby products, so we get customers for the birth, the birthdays, and Christmas. We’ve been selling toys for over 60 years so we have multiple generations of customers. Not a week goes by without at least one customer telling me about visiting the old store (we moved to our current location in 1967).

There are better ways to show Nostalgia than simply saying when we opened.

For instance, here is a radio ad we ran back in 2006 about an event that happened in 1965…

Christmas Eve, nineteen sixty-five. He didn’t know if he would make it. Nine months of active duty, he missed his family. And he was an uncle now. His sister had a baby girl, a precious little child for which a stuffed animal from an airport gift shop just wouldn’t do. As his dad picked him up in the family sedan, he asked, “We got time to stop by the Toy House?”  “Of course, son.  Welcome home.” Merry Christmas from the Toy House in downtown Jackson where Christmas magic happens.

True story? Check.
Speaks to the heart? Check.
Consistent with our Core Value of Nostalgia? Check.
Lets people know we’ve been in business a really long time without just saying the date? Check.

Roy H. Williams said branding is every single interaction a customer has with your business plus how she feels about it. Control the interactions, build them around your Core Values, and you control the feelings.

Are you showing your Core Values both in the store and in your ads? You should. It works.
-Phil Wrzesinski
PS Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. We tend to get a far stronger response from our Nostalgic ads and Nostalgic posts on Facebook than anything else we do. Of all your Core Values, you need to find the one that resonates most deeply with your customers, then build your message from that value. One way to find out is to post messages and pictures to your Facebook page showing different values and see what gets the best response.

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