Is there something significant about where your business is located, the signage you use, or any other interesting visual element that people can visually identify as a landmark? If not, you’re missing a great opportunity to grow your business.

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When someone gives you directions to a location, they will almost always include a visual landmark that helps you identify where you are and where you need to be. In my neighbor hood, for example, we always tell friends to look for the long, white ranch-style fence. It’s the key visual landmark that lets them know where to turn.

The same is true with businesses. Smaller stores and businesses will give you a landmark to look for when giving directions.

For example; The other day an auto parts store was giving me directions to their store and the sales person told me that they were across the street from Starbucks. This tells me one of two things;

A) Either he thought I was a coffee drinker or
B) There was nothing remarkable about their location, building, or store signage that would make it easy for me to find them.

That’s a shame — and a wasted opportunity for them to help them increase brand awareness and increase sales with free advertising.

Here’s an example that could have worked, if the business owner or marketing manager had given it a bit more forethought.

Down in the business district, there’s a Verizon store set slightly back off the street in a mini strip mall with about four other shops. In order to get the attention of passing motorists, they setup this strange tubular balloon outside in the parking lot. It’s really tall and has a weird face and stringy hair at the top. It’s so tall, that the weight of the tube causes it to periodically fall over — but an attached fan puffs it back up pretty quick.

The end result is this “character” that appears to bend over, and jump back up. Like I said, it’s really strange. On the plus side, it does get your attention and I’ve heard people use it as a landmark for giving directions. But here’s the down side; When people reference it, they tend to call it “that flippy black balloon thingy”. Why? Because there’s no identifiable logo or other text on it. If the store owner had placed a Verizon logo on it, people would be able to call it “that Verizon flippy… “. And although no one would probably ever know what it’s really called, they would say over and over again, “Verizon“. And that’s just free advertising.

So think about your store front, the colors, your signage, and ask yourself if there’s anything unique, or different that stands out that would give people a reason to use your store or brand as a landmark. It’s an opportunity to help expand brand awareness while giving people something memorable to remember about your business and where it’s located.

And that’s just smart marketing.