From Perceived Adversity Can Come Opportunity

imagesIt’s not every day that I start my morning in a bar but 8:00 a.m. on this particular morning, I was at Gus O’Connor’s in Novi at the invitation of the City of Novi to speak to a group of area business owners. The topic of the meeting: the Novi Road Link Construction Project.

I, more specifically, was asked to talk about communications considerations to a group concerned with the ramifications of the soon to commence year and ½ roadway project on their respective businesses. In a way, the presentation was an adversity management session of sorts as we talked about being prepared and proactive (as well as promotional).

Rather than looking at the situation as a challenge, I suggested to the group that they look instead at the opportunities to engage and communicate with both existing and potential customers—first and foremost, that they remain open for business (Pardon Our Dust!). From there, it will be important to provide on-going updates on detours and changing traffic patterns (with help from the City of Novi) as well as continuing information on why their establishment (from sales to special promotions) remains worth the trip.

We also discussed bringing out a creative side to marketing. Why not if you are a restaurant, for example, inaugurate construction-themed menu items such as the “Barrels and Barricades” Burger or “Jackhammer” Jambalaya. Hair salons might consider offering discounted “Construction Crew Cuts” and/or “Cement Dust Highlights.” Media often finds such initiatives newsworthy.

And, when faced with possible adversity, I suggested, it is always good to circle the wagons en masse; to join forces and pool resources. This could include looking for cross-promotional opportunities such as “buy a pizza and get a free car wash” or a customer loyalty incentive card shared by retailer neighbors in a particular strip center.

Where there’s a will, I always say, there’s a (road) way.