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If Your Dream Were a Retail Store

I’m rewriting a chapter on “branding your dream” for the book to come. So thinking out loud here . . .

Every brand has a personality, a stature . . . a way it comes at the world. And everything you do either reinforces it or detracts from what you’re trying to build.

Compare your endeavor to a retail store . . .

Are you the kind of store that puts everything on sale, marks things half-off, gives away “loss-leaders” at the back of the store so people will buy the good stuff? Your marketing looks like those guys standing at the intersection flipping signs around or dancing to music in a statue of liberty costume . . .

Or are you the kind of store that doesn’t sell with “sales,” rarely marks things down, and doesn’t apologize for the quality of its products? You get fewer customers this way. But then you don’t want to be Wal-Mart. Your marketing look more like stories, testimonies from other shoppers, word of mouth.

The temptation when you launch your dream is to go with any and every marketing tactic you can to gain customers. But what it takes to get people is what it takes to keep them. You will define who you reach by what you do.

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Ben Arment helps people launch great things. He’s the founder of Dream Year, The Whiteboard Sessions, and STORY in Chicago, and he also wrote a book called Church in the Making. He and his wife Ainsley live in Virginia Beach and have three cowboys, Wyatt, Dylan & Cody.