I can picture Blaise Graziano, the founder of Circus-Man Ice Cream, in his first truck which was undoubtedly cooled by ice and not modern refrigeration units, trolling the neighborhoods in Long Island. He started with 400 bucks and a small truck and built the organization into a very well know entity throughout 18 states. I actually rented trucks from Circus-Man when I graduated college. It was one of my first entrepreneurial ventures and I discuss it in detail in my book, The Everyday Entrepreneur (Wiley).
Mr. Graziano’s ice cream trucks packed with Good Humor ice cream bars, ice-pops and the famous Blue Bunny’s make me nostalgic for the days growing up in suburban South Jersey. Hot summer days at just about 4:30 in the afternoon we would hear the familiar tune and all the neighborhood kids would come running with the spare change and dollar bills their mothers had given them. I can hear the din of the refrigeration units cycling on and off as the truck played back the familiar ice cream jingle blaring from the loudspeaker.
How many things in life truly bring back such a strong memory? I would say, not many. So how do you make your company as memorable as the Graziano family did for nearly half a century? They may not have known it, but they truly were master marketers using sound, smell and even touch to create lasting impressions. For many kids, these were happy times and it’s a subconscious memory that invokes a warm fuzzy feeling.
Today, we are truly bombarded with messages that cloud our enjoyment and make it difficult to weed out the ones to cherish. Maybe we are all trying too hard to come up with the next magic bullet or outsmart our prospective clientele. Just maybe, maybe, we need to focus on the pure quality and enjoyment of our products and services to make them indelible in someone’s mind. Like the first waft of peanuts at a ball game or the air filled with the smell from the hot dog stand on the corner of 22nd Street. Maybe we just need to be good at what we do and build off our greatness.
Circus-Man and many other companies that gave us fond memories are starting up right now. Will the next one be yours?