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Newsletter: #845: The “Lessons from the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.” 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.]

The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. is a small store packed with amazing lessons for smart marketers. The premise alone is one of the most elaborate word of mouth programs ever: The whole thing is a front to raise money for 826NYC, a nonprofit creative writing center for kids.

A few ideas you should borrow:

1. Make your customers look really good
2. Make the cash register a thrilling experience
3. Make it about more than shopping
4. Check it out: The Superhero TED Talk

1. Make your customers look really good

The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. is full of important supplies for do-gooders of the world — things like masks, costumes, and capes. And they encourage you to try them on. Pick out a cape, for example, and you’ll be directed to a platform and mirror where a fan blows on you. The store volunteers will often encourage you to strike poses with suggestions like, “Now you’re flying through the air!” and “Now pose for a reporter!” Their goal is simple: Everyone should feel like they’re a superhero.

The lesson: What could you do to your dressing rooms, test drives, or product trials that would make your customers look and feel this great?

2. Make the cash register a thrilling experience

At the Superhero Supply, you don’t just go to the register and hand over a credit card. When you’re ready to check out, you first put your purchases into a vault and then announce your superhero name and power. And before you can retrieve your stuff, you have to take the superhero oath. It’s funny, it’s goofy, and it means that nobody leaves without a smile on their face.

The lesson: The cash register is your last chance to thrill a customer. What are you doing to take advantage of this opportunity?

3. Make it about more than shopping

People drag their friends across the city to visit the Superhero Supply. It’s like a tiny Disneyland. There’s a mind-reading chair, a de-villainizer, and even a secret passageway (behind a moving bookshelf) that leads to the tutoring room where writers help kids with their projects. You’re encouraged to take pictures, try stuff out, and they’re happy to give you a tour. All the products have hilarious names, descriptions, and warning labels. It’s more than a store, it’s a thousand reasons to tell friends about the amazing experience you just had.

The lesson: Word of mouth isn’t a tactic, it’s a fundamental philosophy you build into everything a customer experiences.

Learn more: Flickr

4. Check it out: The Superhero TED Talk

Learn more about the inspiration behind the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. and the 826 cause from founder, author, and TED Prize winner Dave Eggers in his amazing TED Talk.

Learn more: TED

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