A few months ago, I led a group of Adrian College students completing an internship project in Philadelphia, PA. During some down time, I was excited to seek out a particular drinking establishment I read about in a magazine article. It is called the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. The name is a bit of a misnomer. To describe it as a bar, or even a lounge, would be an understatement. Franklin Co. is one of a growing group of swanky drinking establishments that serve a range of artisanal cocktails. The ambiance emulates a “Speakeasy” from the Prohibition Era. Franklin Co.’s drinks are carefully designed to stimulate the palate. Organic egg whites, apple butter and hibiscus syrup are just a few of the specialty ingredients that make up the delightful potions.
But in case those attractions aren’t adequate, according to our mixologist Nick, Franklin Co. has something else going for it: four types of ice.
Nevertheless, Franklin Co. is tackling same problem that all of us have: standing out.
Hundreds of students apply for admissions, and dozens of Colleges offer similar programs or services. Our competition is fierce. In Franklin Co.’s case, several other bars, lounges and watering holes operate within a two-block radius in Philadelphia.
Everyone is competing for the same thing: attention—trying to rise above the clutter to get noticed, or to get hired, chosen or purchased from. And they often exist in a sea of similar-seeming alternatives. So how can you win students’ attention? How can you entice families to stop, take notice and maybe even tell others what they just saw?
How about four types of ice?
Most people have never thought twice about ice. So when you hear that a bar has four types of ice, your curiosity is piqued. What are the four types? How are they different? Why would anyone need two types of ice, let alone four?
All bars claim that they have good drinks, just like all application essays describe the applicant as smart and hardworking. Just like all colleges claim they care about their students and help them garner amazing jobs after graduation.
But just saying it isn’t enough. Everyone says it, so no one believes us to be distinctive. You need something more—something that shows rather than tells; something that carries your message home by demonstrating it rather than just claiming it.
The brilliance of four types of ice conveys the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. message better than any advertising or social media campaign ever could. The proposition is not just saying, “We are committed to handcrafted drinks.” Rather, it is saying, “We are so committed to handcrafted drinks that no detail goes unnoticed.”
Enter Interactive digital signage.
New ideas and innovation are always present at Adrian College and in the fall of 2013 the College’s Caine Student Center became the birthplace for one more very innovative example.