For a small business such as a retail store or a service provider, special events can help propel the company and its brand to the next level. Unique events can provide a great perk for loyal customers while differentiating your business from the competition.

Often I am asked, “But what can a little business like mine do that my customers would consider special and actually attend?” The better question to ask is what is important or interesting to your customers? Why do they use your services or buy your merchandise?

A typical special event for a haberdasher (a men’s clothing store) is a “trunk sale” which is an after hours sale. New merchandise is offered for the first time at special prices for invited customers only. This works because of the exclusivity of the event and it provides what the loyal customer wants—special treatment and the right product.

Here is another example that may be a bit arcane, but it really works. Omar’s Exotic Birds is a California retailer of exotic birds species such as Macaws, Amazons, African Greys, and Cockatoos along with cages, food, and supplies. They have a great reputation and provide their customers with much needed support and information about these challenging pets.

Omar’s Exotic Birds just announced an after hours “singles event” for parrot owners on November 16th at their location in Lake Forest, California from 5:00 to 6:30 PM. They call it “Omar’s Singles Sunday” (see http://www.omarsexoticbirds.com/singles.html). The premise is simple: if you are single and want to meet other single parrot owners come to this event and please bring your parrot.

This is just brilliant. Think about it. Parrot owners are a special breed since owning a large bird is a huge commitment of time and energy. It requires very special knowledge—these large birds are very smart, needs lots of training, and some can live for 60 years or more.

Just as important is why do people buy large parrots? My guess is the unique relationship that you can get with this special pet: companionship. For some, parrots are surrogate children like dogs and cats are for other people. And there is a certain novelty of owning an exotic bird (I have a 23 year old Amazon Parrot named Billy). What could be cooler than hanging with a bunch of people who share your passion who also desire to meet you?

Special events are a great way to reward loyal customers and to position your business as different.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.

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