Time flies! It has been 200 years since Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles. Well, not that any of us reading this was alive when the historic moment occurred. During that period, one could hardly imagine that a forest would transform into a metropolis today. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to visit Singapore in 1819!
Still, there is one common theme that transcends 200 years. Marketing. The genius of Sir Stamford Raffles was that he used criers (old school broadcast method) to shout to passing shops that Singapore is a free port with all the amenities. It was a crude method but effectiveness nonetheless.
Singapore is not the only port in the region in 1819 like how this Bicentennial celebration is only one of the various celebrations in Singapore. Surrounding the month of August 2019 alone, we have seen National Day, Hungry Ghost, Mooncake Festival, Hari Raya, upcoming F1 and its various concerts to distract the world and encourage spending.
The question is how your business can leverage on the Bicentennial to stand out from the crowd? Here are three tricks to grab the pie:
1. Highlight the historical links of your business
This is not for everyone but only for business who are around for a long time and the history is part of the marketing. For example, food operators such as Ng Ah Siok Bak Kut Teh can have a new marketing campaign to highlight the rugs to richest angle. Do a parallel reality comparison. What is Ng Ah Siok (or his grandfather) doing in 1819?
Let’s face it. Bak Kut Teh are priced around the same range everywhere in Singapore. Have something extra (in addition to good taste and food presentation) to attract bored diners.
2. Funky Promotions
You can create special pricing like $20 buffet for the first 200 customers of your anniversary this year. Well, I supposed you have thought of this already and most customers would have predicted this. So, it is nothing special for a Bicentennial. Try to think of something outrageous that most people won’t try in their lifetime.
For instance, if you are a retail store, put posters for a competition where the first group of 10 couples who purchase the same matching outfit would stand a change to win $2,000 in prizes. All 10 couples must know each other and must be exactly 20 years old on the date of purchase. Imagine the buzz on social media!
3. Create Memorable Bicentennial Products
Products are harder to create compared to promotions. That’s why it would be memorable. Try to create an image of something jarring. For instance, if you are a bar owner, you can consider coming up with 20 different drinks. Each drink would encapsulate the flavour of the decade. For instance, the 1950s was the healing period after the War. The drinks can be herbal in nature. The 1960s was the period of uncertainty before and after independence marked by tears and unrest. The drink can be a riot of colours with a surprising taste and salty water in the middle.
The 1980s was the booming decade where Singapore’s transition between the Third to First World gained momentum with new jobs and buildings sprouting up but challenged by the 1985 recession. Try coming up with a sweet drink with a sour taste in between. Do put up a notice explaining your rational behind the taste of your drinks. It would be appreciated by your patrons because different decade would have different significance for them.
2019 will be over in another 4 months. Grasp this opportunity to make a memorable Bicentennial impression!