We’re coming off yet another great weekend (SVHS prom at the J.O Sundstrom Center, The Good Merchant’s reopening, soft opening of Hands of Time Gallery, and a well-earned spring break at Bethany College — among many others). Three cheers to all these and more.
After that, we dug in to several questions about what makes attractions, businesses of all types, and communities distinctive. The questions were culled from material that was presented several years ago to seven Lindsborg representatives who attended a destination business bootcamp by former Hallmark Card exec and national marketing advisor Jon Schallert. A joint contingent of Lindsborg Ad Hoc and McPherson Chamber of Commerce representatives traveled to Colorado to participate and were partially funded for the bootcamp through NetWork Kansas.
Schallert’s approach: Professional practices, service businesses, retailers, food/bev destinations and communities of any size can profitably focus on what does (or can) make them distinctive, thus attracting interest from beyond expected service areas. Entities must be willing to focus on (or invent, then focus on) this distinction through products, customer experiences, exteriors, interiors and more. In Schallert’s world complacency means losing the edge -- and the slide to irrelevance can be quick. We must constistently invent, refine, and repeat.
We discussed five of seven key questions that Schallert posed during the bootcamp:
1. What are the main differences that separate us from competitors?
2. What is a success story that is worth re-telling? What’s our individual and collective mindset and narrative?
3. What are the basic things that most people expect from your business/institution/community? Do we deliver?
4. What are “ultra services” that can be offered to create distinction? (Hint: Ultra services might well not cost much…)
5. If visitors make judgments about locations in just seven seconds, what are visitors not getting about what they see in our locations/community? How well do we lead people to what we want them to see? How well do we communicate what we are about?
We’ll continue the discussion next week with two more Schallert questions — plus hear about a couple of other 2018-2019 agenda items for Lindsborg.
It’s an interesting time to put heads together. Take a seat in the Ad Hoc Roundtable circle any time. It's open to all. Just keep it forward-looking and positive in tone, please. That's 8 to 9 a.m. Mondays in City Council chambers.