March '20

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MARCH 2020 THE SHOP 27 several days of travel time that they would be able to utilize in readying the new store. BE THE BRAND Establishing your brand—in this case MULE Expedition Outfitters, its logo and its impression as a trustworthy builder of tough overland vehicles and supplier of products for adventure travel—is the best way to minimize the risk of losing control of your service or product, says Larry Bennett, director of the Larry Friedman International Center for Entrepreneurship at Providence, Rhode Island's Johnson & Wales University. Branding is an effective, low-cost growth medium, particularly if you've cultivated your name as a service or branded product and reinforced the image you've created. Knowing who you are is an important part of building a strong brand, and MULE con- tinues to bolster its identity. Branded merchandise and swag—the latter typically free products given away for promotional purposes—are an important part of creating affinity for your shop and fostering loyalty, and MULE offers both. As far as the Grand Opening, MULE Expedition Outfitters definitely nailed it. Displays inside and outside the new Tualatin location attracted crowds all day long, while in the filled parking lot cus- tomers showed off their rigs, shared stories and gathered ideas for their next purchase or adventure. Supplier sales reps provided special- ized information on specific products, and attendees enjoyed free food and soft drinks and had the opportunity to purchase MULE-branded apparel. A year ago, the Marshalls were barely thinking about expansion. Now they operate a second store in a different state. When a growth opportunity presents itself, will you be ready to take advantage? JASON SAKURAI heads up Roadhouse Marketing, a mar- keting, advertising and sales solutions firm dedicated to the automotive aftermarket. A fre- quent contributor to THE SHOP, Jason's byline appears in many enthusiast and trade publications, in print and online. Make sure it's all-systems-go when doing a store opening, from POS to food service.

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