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Bus and Motor Coach Library

The Name of the Game is Visibility!

Author - Brian J. Niddery (2002)

Most business people understand the importance of a company name, and the great asset value and goodwill that it can often represent.  Just having a good name is not enough. It must be successfully promoted and marketed!  A very important key in successfully promoting a name is known as "Visibility" and sometimes “awareness”!

Some business people think that all they have to do is put up a sign in the front of their premises, put their name in the local yellow pages, and maybe place an occasional ad in the local newspaper.  That should be sufficient for anybody "wanting to reach us".  The problem is that nobody ever "wants" to reach a company that they don't know anything about? 

You must give people a reason to call on you, and that reason usually involves generating an element of trust and confidence.  Simply stated the more times and the more ways that you can put your corporate name in front of people the more visible that name becomes.  The more visible a corporate name, the more familiar that company becomes in the eyes of customers and potential customers alike.

And the more familiar your company becomes, the more trust and credibility it will generate in the minds of the people in your area.  Familiarity tends to breed trust and confidence – it’s that simple!

In effect it becomes a numbers game. The more times and the more places your company name appears, the better!  So the object of your enterprise is to play the name game - do not leave any stone unturned in your quest to put your company name in front of everyone you can, and as often as you can, and as many ways as you can.

Here are some ideas:
What about arranging with as many restaurants as you can to supply paper place mats to them at no cost.  You can have them custom designed and printed, and it provides an ideal opportunity to sell your services.  You should be able to cooperate with several other non-competing, and in fact complementary advertisers in order to offset part or all of the printing cost.  Perhaps this may include a tour operator or local travel agency who specializes in bus travel/vacation packages, or who uses your equipment; and vice versa if you are a tour operator.

Engage in cooperative promotional campaigns with local or regional malls and/or retailers, whereby they feature your company and its services on their print material, ads, or promotional pieces, in return for travel vouchers or free seats in your buses.  Do the same for theaters or hotels, or community events.  And don't forget about local attractions! 

Similarly, you can engage in cooperative merchandising campaigns with local radio, TV stations, or newspaper promotions, in return for free advertising.  One of the more valuable activities is where the radio or TV station body wraps your vehicle with its colors and logo, and it is used as a promotional vehicle or a backdrop to community events and activities.

Remember an empty seat is inventory only up until that moment when your bus vehicle pulls away.  Once it pulls away its value is extinguished.  Therefore if you aren't selling out all your seats, then you may as well redeem them for their promotional value.  Trading empty seat inventory for promotional value makes good business sense.  

Now let's go back to what we said a little earlier, "Familiarity breeds trust and confidence".  The more often and the more ways your company name is seen by people in your area, and elsewhere, the more trust and confidence will be inspired in their minds.  And with more trust and confidence, also comes a higher degree of perceived safety and security. No matter how small or large your company is, or how localized or regionalized it may be, it is in your interests to make it appear as often as possible, and most dominantly as you can in the eyes of your customers and potential customers. 

As an aside, it can often pay dividends if your company can be affiliated with a national brand, as it makes appear as if your operation is part of something even larger!  This is the concept behind product branding, franchising, and corporate affiliations.  Coach USA may be regarded as a large, nationally recognized firm, but it is simply made up of several hundreds of acquired small firms, each operating locally and somewhat independently.  Macdonald's restaurants are recognized the world over, yet each individual store is relatively small, serving a localized clientele.  Trailways shareholder members are fully independent and locally owned, but their strength lies in a nationally recognized brand name. All of these companies have one thing in common - they share a nationally recognized and well-respected name.  This generates a larger-than-life image; and familiarity that breeds a great deal of trust and confidence in the eyes of local people and those beyond.

Take a moment right now, sit down with pen in hand, and write down a list of all the ideas and ways that you can think of to make your company more visible and larger-than-life in the minds of the people in your area.