Think way back to your early career as a professional Trick-or-Treater. If you were anything like me, you had a pretty good lay of the neighborhood when it came to the houses that gave the best candy. The big Georgian two blocks over was the first stop, because they gave the full-size candy bars, and you had to get there early if you wanted to snag a Snickers. The Ranch across the street gave only Tootsie Rolls and those weird, hard, peanut butter chews wrapped in nondescript black and orange wax paper wrappers. That house was to be avoided at all costs. The A-frame on the corner didn’t always give the best candy, but they turned their whole front yard into an enclosed haunted house, and the experience alone was worth the walk.
Knowing where to get the best treats was imperative as a kid, because you were putting in a lot of work. You and your parents spent a lot of time brainstorming, then making or buying costumes. You agonized over the perfect amount of white make-up to make your face look convincingly undead. You braved the chilly weather, clad in only tights and a green dress, because the real Tinker Bell never wore a jacket, by golly. And if you were going to go through all that trouble, you wanted the sweetest bang for your buck.
Now, several decades later, here you are, working in the real world, and while you might not realize it, your company is hosting its own version of “Trick or Treat” this year. In fact, you deal with Trick-or-Treaters every day. You have customers who put in a lot of effort to search out your products in the marketplace. They find you online, they research your company, they ask their friends for recommendations, and they determine whether or not your product is worth the price. It’s up to you to offer those customers the kind of treat that will keep them coming back year after year, or month after month, or week after week.
What sort of Trick or Treat house is your company? Are you like the Georgian with the full-size candy bars? Do you offer phenomenal products at reasonable prices? Or maybe you’re more like the A-frame, with decent products but an exceptional delivery and purchase experience. Or are you the Ranch with its weird and unappetizing, unbranded candies? Do you have a stale product wrapped in an uninteresting manner?
Depending on your position in the company, you may not be able to do much about your product itself, but you can certainly have an impact on the way that product is marketed and presented. If the Ranch had set up a killer haunted house in the front yard, I would have gone in a heartbeat, unappealing peanut butter candies and all. If the owner of the Ranch had been extremely creative when giving out the candy, with an elaborate costume and a jovial sense of humor or a good old-fashioned horror story for the visiting youngsters, I would have swung by. If the house itself had an especially aesthetic interior design, my mom would have dragged me there just for an annual view. Heck, if I was at all familiar with the man and just knew him to be a good person, I would have taken time out to stop by and say hello on Halloween.
So what can you, in your current position, do to ensure that your company is one of the best houses on the Halloween block? Better packaging? Stronger customer service? A complete corporate rebranding? Better product customization options? A more exciting trade show experience? Whatever you decide to do with your product, take a few creative liberties and work to make your company a little more enchanting. With a little effort, and maybe a few creative tricks, your customers will find your treats worth coming back for.