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Volume 7    Issue 4           July/August  2005

Does Safety Sell—Even to Brides?

What does auto glass have to do with a bridal shower? Probably about as much as it has to do with a seniors’ festival or a neighborhood health fair. But that doesn’t keep Donna Braden, co-owner of Jack’s Glass, an AGRSS-registered company in Allentown, Pa., from using these venues to promote her company and auto glass safety.

“You name it and I can probably make it pertain to glass,” she proudly said. “We have different themes and do different things to make us stand out, have people notice us and have them remember our name.”

How does a small auto glass shop owner find such innovative marketing techniques? A little bit of imagination and a little of circumstance. One of Braden’s ad reps once gave her a booth at a local bridal show, worth about $1,000. So, she set up a booth with a bridal bouquet, white lights, square and round mirrors (because many brides were looking for centerpieces for their tables), a secondhand bridal gown and all the bridal decorations. Once the happy couples came in, Braden introduced them to auto glass.

“Many times when people are getting married, it’s the first time they purchase car insurance themselves,” Braden said. “We discuss the difference between a comprehensive deductible and a collision deductible, the things they need to look for when they purchase car insurance, the coverages they have and how to go about getting glass replaced when they have a glass claim.”

The response thrilled Braden.

“At a minimum, 1,000 people come through,” she said. “That’s 1,000 people who saw our name and I had a lot of one-on-one time with. In our industry, it’s very difficult in 30 second commercials and in newspaper or radio ads to educate people.”

Braden has looked for other ways to get that one-on-one time with customers. She does senior health fairs because she figures either someone drove the seniors to the event or they drove themselves. She also does Chamber of Commerce, business-to-business trade shows and local health fairs. She’s used a number of innovative themes, including one that showed Jack’s Glass as “Guardian Angel,” one that was decorated in a “South of the Border” style and one that had country and western costumes.

“We brought in bales of hay, made it look like a camp fire setting,” she said. “One of my installers happens to be a musician. He plays the guitar and sings. He wrote ‘The Ballad of Jack’s Glass.’”

While humor can draw attendees to her booth, Braden relies on a safety message once they arrive.

Donna Braden also is certified as a child safety seat inspector, which means she can hold child safety seat inspection clinics. She also teaches attendees at these clinics about auto glass as well while they’re there.

At health fairs she teaches how important it is to wear seat belts and how everything works together to keep them safe. Finally, she shows seniors how air bags are deployed and then explains the value of properly installed glass.

“I try to go with the whole safety issue because I feel that’s where we are different and that’s what’s really important in cars and people don’t realize it,” she said. 

Donna Braden, Jack's Glass, knows how to market and she uses a wide range of opportunities to sell her message of safety.

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