I never thought of advertising my business when I was a small shopkeeper. The word-of-mouth publicity among customers was sufficient for me in those days. But at one stage, especially when the chain of our Al Adil stores began expanding, I had to think seriously about using media frequently as well as creatively. A small incident actually ignited the spark in my mind.
There was a food trade exhibition in Dubai. Since I was interested in making new acquaintances, I visited the show. It was an amazing experience to watch the various stalls, new products and novel technologies displayed there. My attention was particularly drawn to a stall which was more crowded. I headed over to watch. The stall was decorated aesthetically like a royal court. A beautiful model in majestic attire with a glimmering crown on her head sat on a throne. She was acting like a princess. Her maids were welcoming the visitors and the princess was gifting everyone a little velvet pouch. First I thought the product to be something expensive like saffron, but when I opened the pouch, it turned out to be a Basmati rice sample. People were enjoying the dramatic and entertaining presentation.
I really appreciated the company and their advertising and marketing teams for implementing such an innovative idea. Their product was actually a simple, but they successfully imprinted on customer’s mind that it was not an ordinary but a royal one. When I was studying the doctorate programme in Business Management, our professor would say, “In alphabets as A is close to B- so is advertising to business.” I remembered his words and was determined to apply the same technique in my business. The first step I took was to renovate and modernize my stores. I hired an interior design consultant to make a beautiful display of all products. Then I turned to print media, radio, television, outdoor etc. Besides sponsoring various other events, we set a tradition of publicizing our own corporate events. We usually invite a popular celebrity actress from Bollywood to inaugurate new stores. Such events attract a huge crowd of fans and our purpose is achieved.
I always insisted that my advertising agency create entertaining and appealing advertisements for our brand. From my experience, I can tell you that to grow and succeed in business you have to advertise not only your products but yourself too. Your pleasing personality, immaculate attire, soft tone of speaking and smiling face all act as powerful advertising tools. The simplest and non-expensive way of advertising is word of mouth publicity. It can be acquired by giving a friendly and respectful treatment to your customers. Next is the aesthetic display of showrooms and attractive packaging of products. Today another non-expensive and powerful medium is catching the attention of customers- social media. You can use it wisely to your benefit.
I like a quote by Ted Turner- Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.