by Art Piccio . March 22nd, 2012
In a few more days, April Fools’ Day will come along, and hundreds of millions of internet users will be surprised, confused, and delighted by Google’s and other companies’ inevitable April 1 prankstravaganzas.
April Fools’ Day happens on the same date every year- which makes you wonder why people still fall for Google’s signature yearly hoaxes. Or for any April Fools’ prank for that matter.
Of course, no one ever forgets Thanksgiving (which is movable, of all things), Christmas, or New Year. There’s simply a lot of things reminding us about what’s going to happen.
The simple fact is, we tend to forget specific dates and deadlines if there are no reminders. For instance, my girlfriend will probably be really ticked-off as soon as she finds out I have absolutely no idea when our anniversary is. Of course she won’t do anything to remind me either, which will make it all the more interesting when that day comes. I know, because last year I totally forgot her birthday.
Woah… woah… woah… Stop right there, self-referential literary device! Why do Google and other companies seem to take April Fool’s Day seriously? Unless you make exploding cigars or joy buzzers, (in which case you should probably be making something else) April Fools and other minor events will rarely mean a significant increase in sales. What events like April Fools allow you to do is whip up a nice buzz around your brand and exceed customer expectations.
Delighting people instead of just doing what you’re expected to do gets you remembered in a positive light –which in the long run always means good word of mouth and repeat business.
Delighting customers is also hella hard to do. It involves treating someone to a new or unexpected experience. Which by definition means you can’t repeat the same thing and expect to capture the magic of the first time. One important advantage small businesses have over established ones is that it is far easier them to exceed expectations, simply because no one really expects too much when you’re new!
Unusual or unexpected occasions make it just a bit easier to surprise people. April Fool’s or any other unusual holiday, whether real or ad-hoc (like Star Wars Day, for example) can be leveraged into a way for you to get more recognition than you would otherwise. A special day that interests your market or is suited for your industry is an especially prudent one to invest some time in. Using Star Wars Day as an example, you’d probably connect more with techies, and perhaps somewhat less with trekkies.
If nothing else, celebrating or having some fun with these holidays can also improve employee morale, which brings its own benefits. You can also turn it into a tradition.
Got any stories? What unusual holidays does your business celebrate?
Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.