The February 21 issue of Shelf Awareness featured a piece by Robert Gray titled “That Elusive ‘Red Cover’ Book, Revisited”. The article explored how booksellers serve as “customer request decoders” in the “Who knows?” game. It’s a great article, but I want to focus on one aspect in the piece: a great display photo from Valerie Koehler’s Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, TX. It features table full of books with blue covers and a fantastic sign that reads, “I don’t remember the title, but it’s blue.”
The image of that display showed up on Reddit today, which means that we’ll start seeing it shared through social media for a while. But it’s only the image, with no attribution to Blue Willow Bookshop. Don’t get me wrong; to have a positive image that we’ve created go viral is good. But think of the hits Blue Willow would be receiving over the coming weeks if the store name was attached in some way.
One way to do this is to attach a watermark to the images you post. But an easier way would be to make sure that your store name or logo appears on your signage, posters, sandwich boards, etc. Even if it’s just added to the bottom in chalk. Then if a visitor to your store takes and shares a photo, your “brand” is included. (You might even consider adding a hashtag to initiate a campaign.) This isn’t about pride or ownership. It’s about driving traffic.
Koehler agrees. “While we did send out the original tweet,” she told me, “who would have guessed it would go viral!”
So today, spend 300 seconds and look to see if you can improve your signage. And then go ahead and create something that’s viral-worthy.