In the midst of national public relations issues that show no signs of, uh, slowing down (sorry, Toyota), it’s easy to miss the small PR victories being earned for products and services in local and regional markets across the country.
Hudsonville Ice Cream is sold in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana – but it has achieved mildly iconic status on its West Michigan home turf. And I noticed an article about an upcoming event for the company that made me smile and realize that, once again, being true to your brand and your roots is the only real way to go. This post from mlive.com describes the interesting manner in which the company will introduce 12 new flavors at an event called “the Coolest Taste to Share Extravaganza.” I don’t love the title, but hey, even its “clunkiness” feels right for Hudsonville’s small-town personality.
On March 27, the company will open its factory doors for only two hours or so, and admit guests – limited by space to 500. Those guests will pay $10 each for the privilege of seeing the ice-cream-making process up close and delicious, and will be the very first lucky customers to sample the new flavors, which will be revealed one at a time at eight-minute intervals.
And one of the best aspects of all this – and where the “share” part of the title comes in – is that all proceeds go to an organization called Kids Food Basket. The group serves an evening meal each weekday to at-risk kids at local elementary schools.
To me, this is a model example of local public relations at work. Twelve new flavors in a mere announcement? Cool, but (yawn) back to work. But when you put the big “unveiling” into in this context, with a rare chance to sample ice cream where it is made, and with a “selective” audience whose price of entry goes to feed hungry local kids? That idea is cherry. Or maybe “mint.”
In any event, just because some big national brands or big-name celebrities are facing a rocky road and find themselves in crisis-management mode, don’t let that overshadow the positive, proactive things that are going on in your local market – or discourage you from all the great things you might be able to do for your clients, with a little bit of creativity. New flavors are fun! Let’s all keep looking for them.