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Amy Campbell,

Long Beards = Marketing Gold: Branding Tactics for Self-Storage Operators Courtesy of ‘Duck Dynasty’

By Amy Campbell Comments
Posted in Blogs, Marketing

By Amy Campbell

I’m not a fan of hunting of any type. I don’t wear camouflage, own a rifle or  spend any time honing my “tracking skills.” So the reality TV show “Duck Dynasty” on A&E, which follows the Robertson family, who sell products for duck hunters, barely made a blip on my interest radar. But lately, I’ve been bombarded by “Duck Dynasty” (DD) mania. There are the usual products—the family’s signature duck call, the Duck Commander, and numerous fan T-shirts. Then came the unexpected DD sunglasses and  a board game. Really. There’s a calendar, and even a line of sneakers hitting stores this month featuring the show’s duck camouflage pattern.

While I’m not a follower of the show, I can certainly appreciate the marketing impact it has made. Few reality TV families—or even pseudo families, that means you, “Jersey Shore”—have been able to take their shtick from the airwaves and turn it into a bankable commodity. So what makes this family different from, say, the one showcased on “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”? One can argue all day about the likeability of the families featured or even the premise of the shows. However, I really think it comes down to one factor: marketing. Simply put, the marketing team behind the Robertson family is on fire.

Unless your self-storage facility has a waiting list a mile long, marketing is a key component to your ongoing success. With the majority of operators ditching the Yellow Pages in favor of more online marketing, community events and onsite promotional materials, operators are forced to become creative, witty, clever and original. Not an easy task when everyone’s selling a similar service.

So how do you accomplish this? Sometimes it’s by zeroing in on what really makes your facility unique in your market. Or you might find success by being silly, possibly controversial, or cluing into pop culture. One of the key marketing ingredients that makes the Robertson family stand out is the men’s long beards. It’s kind of funny to wear a T-shirt with the faces of four guys with super-long beards. It was great branding for ZZ Top in the 80s and it seems to be working for the Robertson men now.

While marketing needs to zing, it doesn’t have to be pricey. Here’s a great article about ways small-business owners can build innovative campaigns without spending major bucks. And, to get the inspiration juices flowing, here’s a compilation of the 80 best guerilla marketing ideas from around the world.

For more inspiration, read the articles on the ISS Marketing topics page, or check out the marketing products in the ISS Store. Be sure to view “Crush Your Competition: 101 Self Storage Marketing Tips for the Fastest Way to Huge Profits” by Marc Goodin, who’s also a self-storage owner. The book features hundreds of low-cost marketing ideas, sales tips and tactics for penetrating your self-storage market. You can also find marketing advice, ideas and information at Self-Storage Talk. And if you have a long beard, use it to your [marketing] advantage.

Have you launched an amusing, eye-catching or otherwise superb marketing program lately? Tell us about it by posting a comment below or on Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s biggest forum.


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