Yesterday the folks around town thought I was crazy. The ones who know me already realize that. However, I was a little more odd than usual, as I toodled around town snapping pictures of ugly trucks. Like this one:
Or this one:
My friend Marcia at Tumbled Words, and her friend Nancy J. Bond at Only The Good would caution you to find only the good in these photos. It’s kinda hard to look at an ugly truck and see much good, isn’t it? You have to admit that’s an awfully ugly color of orange. So let me tell you what I think is good about them.
Those trucks are owned by a man named “Frenchy” who has a lawn service here in Denton, TX. There are hundreds of lawn services in the area, but if you ask people to name one, the first words on their lips will be “Frenchy’s Lawn Service.” Why? Because Frenchy has those trucks all over town; sometimes he just leaves them parked where people will see them. When you drive into town near my house, this is one of the first sights you will see:
I’ve never seen those trucks moved from that spot. They are always there, with a different message every day. Frenchy is constantly wishing someone “Happy Birthday,” or congratulating someone for an accomplishment, or posting a message to cheer on the local sports teams. He has been called the “Goodwill Ambassador for Denton.” At first, I thought those trucks were an eyesore. Now, I’ve come to love them, and I always read the signs on Frenchy’s trucks to see what’s going on in town.
I don’t know the man personally, but I’ve heard a lot of stories about him. I don’t know if they are true, but I’ve been told that Frenchy is a Viet Nam era veteran who is fiercely patriotic (as evidenced by the American flags and Eagles plastered all over his trucks). When he began his lawn service, he had an ugly truck and needed to paint it. He found some cheap orange paint, and Shazaam! An ugly orange truck appeared.
That ugly truck got attention, though. His choice of orange for a color might have been for economy’s sake, but it turned out to be a brilliant business move. As his business grew and he acquired a fleet of trucks, he kept painting them that God-awful orange. Now, in Denton, if you ask someone to tell you a word they associate with “orange,” they are likely to say “Frenchy’s!” In fact, he is so well respected in the community that the local ice cream shop named a sherbet after him: “Frenchy’s Orange.”
You probably immediately know the names associated with these pictures:
They are the “image brands” for McDonalds, Nike, and Izod.
Those orange trucks are Frenchy’s “brand.” It’s a smart business move. But, Frenchy has been an intelligent businessman in many more ways than that. The goodwill that he builds on those trucks coming into town is pretty tremendous. Aside from that, if there is any kind of community function, Frenchy is there right in the big middle of things. Any charity that needs help can count on Frenchy’s assistance to publicize, raise money, or donate money and time. His generosity is legendary.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I think that anyone in business—-even the business of blogging—-can learn from Frenchy. His “brand” may never be nationally known, but it is recognized in the place where it is important: his community. As bloggers, I think it’s important to have a “brand.” I know that I am trying to take a page out of his book. But, Frenchy does several things I think are important for success: He has a “brand,” he is supportive and generous in his community, and when he gets behind a cause he supports it with everything he has.
As bloggers, we are a “community.” I think we should be doing everything we can to ensure the success of our own blogs and of those we like. Our words on the internet have power far beyond what you might think. Our words can change our world. We can learn how to succeed and make a difference in our community by examining successful businessmen like Frenchy.
Now, look at this truck and tell me you can’t see “the good.”
Now it’s YOUR turn. Do you have a “brand” for your blog? What do you hope to achieve in your little corner of the world? Will you share two or three things you do that you think are important for successful blogging OR for “making a difference?”