In 1982 the model McDonald’s Owner Operator would spend time each month assembling the store’s community trayliner. It would be one of the most important communications pieces for that store. The individual store trayliner was an essential complement to the national media support that brought image-based and promotional messages to the local market. The trayliner was the great enabler that helped bring the giant’s message to the-place-where-I-live.
The trayliner was the local “relationship-builder”. It featured a local calendar of events, neighbourhood activities, nearby businesses and attractions – it included coupons and special offers and provided a sneak-peek at coming events. Birthday parties, anniversaries, fundraisers and special events were important to the community – and the trayliner was the way to bring that message home…even if it had “homespun” art direction.
This slip of paper established the restaurant as a requisite part of the local trading area. The trayliner was a key ingredient in a communication that said “we’re the world’s favourite neighbourhood restaurant”. It was the workhorse communications medium of its time; terrific value as a modest cost item.
The best restaurants ran the best local store marketing programs. And those stores had the best trayliners.
A generation later the new trayliner is social media. A social network like Facebook; a social-shopping platform like Dealfind; a curated network like LinkedIn; or a location-based service like Foursquare; micromedia like Twitter…each of these social mediums is doing the work of the old community trayliner. Each establishes a human connection through a medium that is seen by large numbers of people. And of course it’s improved, now that these connections are carefully targeted, professionally developed and beautifully presented.
The social medium provides the local store with what it needs to be LOCAL – to be important to the community – while enjoying the benefits of corporate branding and broadcast media support.
A generation later the best restaurants and the best local businesses still run the best local store marketing programs. Their badge now is the new trayliner: a great social media program.
See Also: "Pivotal Social"