Last week, Julie and I whimsically went to Boiling Crab to eat dinner. Upon sitting down, we immediately noticed two things.

  1. The walls were all tagged up
  2. The smallest table seated four people (up to 16+)

Interesting concept. If my hunch was correct, they were doing exactly what I did in Atlantic City, New Jersey for my second business (Wiired – a gaming lounge). Wiired had walls and ceiling panels all tagged up with customer art along with lots of sofas … well, for lounging.

#1 – Customer Ownership

So why allow for tagging? If anything, why encourage it? The art value itself actually has zero effect. In fact, in some cases, it made the business look uglier.

In behavioral economics, there is something called endowment effect, which means that customers will value a business (product or service) more if they established ownership in it (even if it’s a tiny part).

We had a system set up where customers at Wiired had to “earn” the honor of a ceiling panel to tag up with their own art. As a result, whenever their parents came to pick them up or friends came to hang out, the ceiling panel “owner” would point to their tile and brag about how they’re part of Wiired (forever and ever).

wiired cyber cafe

Boiling Crab has a similar system where the walls are open space for “ownership.”

boiling crab graffiti

How You Can Apply It

There are tons of ways you can apply it to your wedding businesses. I will share two examples.

Photographers – John Michael Cooper (JMC) is well-known for his multi-frame single shot images (he combines a lot of frames into one photo in Photoshop). The reason that he needs multiple frames is because he uses his one flash and highlights various areas. However, he needs someone to push the shutter button every time.

JMC could easily have an assistant do it, but he usually has the wedding party click away. Nothing can go wrong because the camera is on a tripod. When the final image is produced, the wedding party can say, “Wow! I helped JMC with that!”

john michael cooper

Event Designers – I recently worked at a wedding where the bride made a suggestion for an ice sculpture. When it came into fruition, all the event designer had to say was, “I absolutely loved your suggestion! I think it looks ever more wonderful!”

Once clients establish ownership, the business will forever be sort of theirs, thus loyalty. This is the same feeling when we help paint a mural or work on a project…

#2 – Community

Starbucks, Facebook, SMUGs, PUGs, and etc. sole purposes are to create community. Boiling Crab’s minimal seating arrangement was for four people. The whole point is so that friends would all gather and eat community foods, drink and be merry.

Starbucks is also very strategic in creating a “Neighborhood” board where local community organizations can post stuff on the wall. There are some that even allow for local artists to post photos as part of the wall art (endowment effect – aforementioned).


How You Can Apply It

Very simple – go out and have fun with your previous clients! Mike Colon does this annually by inviting all of his brides from the previous two years to a fancy lunch.

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Your October supporter,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. Wiired, Inc. was established in 2002. It was sold in 2004. To this day, old clients still compare how much more Wiired rocked compared to current businesses.

P.P.S. I used to play so much computer games that my frag (kills) : deaths ratio for first person shooter games (like Counter Strike or UT) was approximately 40:1. I was a machine.

P.P.P.S. In the coming weeks, I will be discussing the psychology to pricing and packages. Anyone interested or should I write about something else?

P.P.P.P.S. I will be in New York this Thursday – Sunday for @Grace_Ormonde‘s party at The Plaza. Anyone want to play?