Mar 24

What I Learned Today From My Visit to Second Cup

I visited Second Cup at the corner of Bank and Somerset streets in Ottawa this morning with my friends Lindsay and Marilynne. 

A storm warning had turned into a (hopefully) last blast of winter, but the atmosphere inside was anything but cold and unfriendly. Owner Michel Eid was there to give us some advice–about the neighborhood (mixed but mostly nice), about its business community (universally great!) and about sponsorship opportunities for any new business thinking of setting up shop in the area.

About the latter, Michel was especially forthcoming. Here’s what we figured out together:

-a new business could always print up and distribute coupons like ½ price, two for one, buy two/get one free, 10% off, whatever

-or it could print up script (like Canadian Tire money) that could be redeemed at the new store/business

-but cash or discounts are quickly used up–gone and forgotten

-maybe it’d be better instead to print up coupons for the fledging enterprise (eg, an insurance brokerage) that would instead reward new customers/clients with, say, a free coffee at Second Cup (obviously!) or a slice of za at nearby Gabriel Pizza or a submarine sandwich at Subway or… you get the picture


The idea is that 10% off is rapidly forgotten, but a sandwich, pizza slice or cup of coffee is not.

It’s like you decided one year to reward stupendous employee performances at Christmas time with $600 cash bonuses (½ of which, BTW, going to keep Justin Trudeau and his lovely family in the style to which they are quickly becoming accustomed). That’s nice, but easily misremembered.

If instead you decided to give each of your high performers a new iPhone 8, why, every time they’d boot one of those things

up, they’d recall what a great person/employer you are. It’d have legs.

Essentially, it’s a form of cross marketing: like some handsome dude getting out of a

Nazca M12 (a $650,000 USD Bimmer, aka Beamer, aka BMW, aka a Bayerische Motoren Werke AG

automobile) wearing a
William Westmancott Ultimate Bespoke suit

($75,000 USD)

and a LOUIS MOINET METEORIS watch (valued at $4.6 million USD) on his wrist. The thinking is that maybe someone who buys these kinds of pricey trinkets is in the market for compatible merchandise/services. 


So, in a way, Subway becomes a marketing channel for the new insurance brokerage, which is a marketing channel for Second Cup, which is a marketing vehicle for Gabriel pizza and so forth. 


It would also accelerate acceptance of your new enterprise into the local business community, and you can never have too many friends.


@ profbruce @ quantum_entity

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.