And as often as not, when probed as to what they’ve done — or are wiling to do — to deserve such coverage, there’s a shrug or blank stare, as though simply wanting it should be enough to qualify. Or, there’s the “we’re the best-kept secret” reason. Or, “we’ve been in business ___ (1, 5, 10, 25) years” reason. There are many variations of this reason, all of which mean, “Well, actually, nothing.”
There are many ways to get publicity for your business, but one of the best ways is to do something worthwhile for the community – give something significant away. As I’ve blogged before, it’s based on the Law of Reciprocity, which means what goes around comes around – or paying it forward.
This week Panera Bread Co. did this in a big way. They opened a restaurant/bakery in Missouri that is just like the other 1,400 restaurants they operate, except there are no prices. Instead of a price list, a sign asks patrons to “Take what you need, leave your fair share.”
The new store, called the St. Louis Bread Co. Cares, is operated by a nonprofit that has access to Panera’s food distribution center, food suppliers and branding. While helping to feed the hungry, Panera also gains more business for its for-profit stores – and great buzz. Not only does Panera gain points for philanthropy but also for the cool factor.
Can’t give away the whole store? Maybe not. But you can – and should – develop your own ideas that are consistent with your business. That’s how to get great publicity for the terrific PR you’ve earned.