There’s no more competitive environment for the public’s dollars and attention than New York City. Visualize Rockefeller Center with its massive Christmas tree, ice skating rink, and high end shopping and you get the picture. This past weekend, the area was packed with locals and tourists. And, on every corner there were Salvation Army bell ringers.
How can the Salvation Army hope to compete with the up scale, highly decorated glitz of a New York City Christmas? Much to my surprise, they were doing just fine.
Each kettle was staffed with two bell ringers. They played rockin’ holiday music. They rang those bells. They danced. The dances were high energy drawing crowds of spectators, including several who joined in. The bell ringers had fun and so did the audience.
It was more fun to watch the energetic Salvation Army bell ringers perform than it was to watch the ice skaters or shop. And the best part? Without being asked, people filled the red kettles.
The Salvation Army in New York offers a good lesson in marketing. They might have thrown up their hands and said ‘We can’t compete against THAT!’ but they didn’t. They took advantage of the huge crowds drawn by the Rockefeller Center attractions. They upped the energy. They entertained and engaged the public. They didn’t stop; they got moving! And I’ll bet they had a very merry Christmas.