I was surprised by a gun shop’s approach to marketing
It shocked me, to be honest.
I had never been in a gun shop before.
Other than the air rifle I had as a kid – with which I basically just shot off little clods of dirt – I had never even shot a gun before.
The only shooting ranges I had ever seen were on TV or in the movies.
So you could say I was an wide-eyed newbie to the whole gun scene… and I’ll admit… I’m perfectly content to keep it this way.
But back in April – on a Saturday morning before my daughter’s wedding – I was invited by my future son-in-law (Joel) to join him, his dad, and a group of his buddies to kick-off a long day of “bachelor partying.”
Luckily for me (and Joel’s dad), my participation in this obligatory male bonding experience was limited to the late morning visit to the gun shop and shooting range with lunch to follow at a nearby microbrewery.
Anyway, since I’m not a card-carrying NRA member, but rather an MSPRA & NSPRA member, I went to the gun shop with my typical school PR mindset.
In other words, I went to the bachelor party with a mindset Cindy begged me to leave at home.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I was taken aback by the incredible cleanliness and bright curb appeal of the Barracks 616 gun shop.
I guess I was expecting windows and doors full of bullets holes or something,
But inside and out, Barracks 616 was immaculate.
For me, this was Marketing Checkpoint #1.
I was reminded how clean, tidy, and pride in one’s place of operation denotes professionalism and care to detail.
This photo is just little reception area where you check into the shooting range.
Like I said… totally clean and ship-shape… and this wasn’t even the main sales area, which was much more impressive.
There was an upbeat atmosphere in the reception area along with an unabashed advocacy for gun ownership, training, and safety.
There was a strategic intentionality incorporated into Barracks 616’s reception area and I wondered if we (uh, you and me) give our school reception areas as much consideration.
And this is Marketing Checkpoint #2.
Barracks 616 was mindful of the messages it posted on its walls and corridors.
It was obvious they’d never post anything in conflict with their own beliefs.
In fact, their messaging went far beyond simple idea-shaping affirmations.
They promoted their historical connection and reason for existing.
So they prominently displayed the 2nd Amendment.
They didn’t take it for granted that everyone on the premises was already aware of it and knew what it was.
While a newbie like me had absolutely no interest in buying a gun and bullets, Barracks 616 didn’t write me off as a sad sack just passing through.
They clearly let me know they had something more important to sell me.
And again, I wondered if we should follow suit.
After all, how many people enter our lobbies and reception areas and leave with a sense of our purpose and the value of public education?
At Barracks 616, I couldn’t escape its convictions wherever I turned.
It gave me pause.
It made me wonder how long it’s been since any of us (well me, for sure) had recalled, dusted off, and recommitted ourselves to our noble cause.
We have rich affirmations of our own, you know.
Here are three.
Maybe it’s just me.
I’m the nutty one here, I know.
But the enthusiasm I saw exhibited in the words and deeds at Barracks 616 for its purpose, shamed me a bit.
I know we could “do it all” better… but will we?
Will people enter our schools this coming school year be able to see why we exist… consistently and without fail?
Or will they only see heightened levels of pride in public education during designated special occasions?
I think our story is far better than a gun shop’s.
But it’ll take some work to prove it, no doubt about it.
Lessons #3 and #4 are headed your way tomorrow.
(Have a good Monday!)
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