Some years ago the CEO of Jameson Inns, a chain of moderately priced hotels, found himself in a tight competitive corner. What he needed to break out, he felt, was an innovation that would boost income significantly – a sales tool that would raise his brand to the top of the minds of key customers, especially members of construction crews, who turned up repeatedly to work on projects in his market area.
As was natural, his first impulse was to look at what his competitors were doing to foster customer loyalty. And the closer he looked the more convinced he became that free stays, free dinners, free drinks and the like weren’t likely to cut the mustard. He wanted something that would stand out forcefully from the typical incentives he saw around him.
Whether the idea he came up with was his own, or whether someone else brought it to him, we’ve no way of knowing. But, by the time our company came into the picture, Mr. Kitchen, for that was the CEO’s name, had fully embraced a novel concept. He’d put his heart behind it, and had made it his own.
What he’d decided to do, to drives sales, was to give his best customers a piece of the action. He’d turn them into shareholders. He’d envisioned a program with the underlying message: “As we make out, you make out.” Participants in the program would be given $10 worth of Jameson’s publicly traded stock for every $100 they spent at a Jameson Inn. He’d chosen a slogan, which eventually became a common sight on billboards around Atlanta: Invest While You Rest.Next »