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Newsletter #1003: The “Blank Walls” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

So much amazing potential is in a blank wall. It can bring a community together, help you spread the word about your stuff, and help your customers feel at home — you just have to tap into it.

Don’t believe us? Here are three examples from businesses both big and small:

1. Make it beautiful
2. Make it complimentary
3. Make it a conversation-starter
4. Check it out: Your World of Text

1. Make it beautiful

One neighborhood in Arlington, Texas, had a problem. Their houses faced a huge eyesore: the dilapidated backside of the town’s oldest strip mall. To fix it, the owner and neighborhood made a call on social media for artists to get together and make it beautiful. High-school students, professional artists, and a city councilman all worked together to paint different sections of the wall to create a giant patchwork mural over what had once looked like an abandoned building. Now the area is used as a community gathering spot. People get together behind the strip mall every month for an open house and music.

The lesson: It’s a reminder that the details matter — even the blank walls on the backside of your store. Something that might not have a significant impact on your business can have a huge impact on the rest of your community.

Learn more: CBS

2. Make it complimentary

MOO, a print and stationery company, plastered blank bulletin boards and brick walls — not with advertising — but with pretty cards that said stuff like, “I think you’re fabulous,” “You’re spectacular,” and “I think you’re awesome.” These walls full of unbranded compliments aren’t just eye-catching, they’re word of mouth tools. People took a hand-full of these complimentary cards and passed some on to their friends, spreading the word about MOO.

The lesson: When you make people smile, they want to share it with someone else.

Learn more: The Inspiration Room

3. Make it a conversation-starter

At some Caribou Coffee shops, they paint an entire wall with chalkboard paint and write conversation-starters like “What’s your favorite memory from last year?” or “What’s your favorite childhood game?” This gets people to pick up some chalk and participate, which gives their guests a great ice-breaker with Caribou Coffee employees and other customers.

The lesson: People love to feel like a part of something bigger and feel more connected to others. Caribou Coffee gives people that opportunity by turn a blank wall into an open forum.

Learn more: Charis Wilson

4. Check it out: Your World of Text

This text-based site lets you create your own domain for a blank page by typing anything after That domain will take you to a blank page where you can write anywhere.

Learn more: Your World of Text

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