When you wear the Scarlet and Grey of THE Ohio State Buckeyes as often as I do, you get accustomed to the greetings proffered by strangers.
“O-H!” they shout after noticing my Buckeye hoodie, cap or jersey.
The correct response to getting O-H’d is a knowing “I-O.”
And of course, a knowing glance. THE fraternity’s secret handshake!
I have been a member of two other “cults” which similar to Buckeye Nation, had a “secret handshake.”
As an American, a boy and a car lover I dreamed of one day owning a Corvette. My dreams were not as big as this kid dreams, but a dream none-the-less!
Months before I was to get married, I mentioned to my soon-to-be best-man that I was hoping to one-day own a Vette. He shared that after I tied the knot, I would need to get my wife’s permission to spend that kind of money on a car or a dream!
Within a week, I owned a Vette.
Decades before I received my fist “O-H!” I learned about THE Vette “Wave.”
Wave is in quotes because it’s not a wave at all. In-fact if you actually wave, you’re voted off the island for not knowing better, and sent to the land of the uncool.
THE Vette Wave is far more subtle. A mere nod of the head sort of gesture. Only made with your fingers! A digital message, from a time when the word digital meant “related to a finger.” One or all of the fingers of your driving hand lifted slowly off the steering wheel briefly enough to be noticed.
But not long enough to be un-cool.
Looking at this picture of a paint dealer circa 1992, cool was important!
A gesture offered, or in response saying “this, we share.”
Years later I discovered that when Vette owners got together to devise the “secret handshake” which would become the Vette Wave, that there were traitors in their midst.
And they all drove Jeeps!
The Jeep Wave! Similar to the Vette Wave, but with far more options.
With four of the six original sites of THE Revolution live and the remaining two ready to go live as soon as their owners are, I continue to work with the dealers on getting their sites to look "just right" while also focusing our efforts on their marketing plans.
While sales have been slow to get started, each live site is beginning to garner plenty of attention locally. While only one of the dealers of my Revolution has begun (just!) doing any digital marketing in support of their site (instead focusing their energies on making the sites a more personalized representation of their existing businesses), all the sites are seeing healthy growth in visitor counts and other engagements.
The dealers who own these sites know: success will be coming soon.
But how do they tell other dealers they meet that they now know: there's value in a retail store being found by consumers hundreds of times a week.
To Buckeye nation the O-H says, “I know!” The I-O in reply saying, "I know too!" With a gesture the parties agreeing that they have shared the unique experience which makes up campus and football life at Ohio State.
To Corvette owners the wave also says “I know!” A recognition that driving fast, in a car designed to do nothing else, is as fun as it sounds. A wave back means you both know it!
To Jeep Wave says that wherever the road takes me, I'll have a place to park! Even if we have to drive on the curb to do it!
At some point, at a National Hardware or Allpro Show I am sure that I will run into one of my Revolutionaries. Maybe the floors will be too crowded for us to speak and all we will share is a distant moment. A brief glance or gesture. A moment to say “I know!”
I know, that it’s great for my business to be found, 24/7. I know, that selling paint and sundries to people while my stores are closed and they are on their couches is more fun than driving fast. Or jumping-curbs.
A simple gesture which in a glance says “I know!” that if I am going to sell paint in a digital age, even in my brick and mortar stores, I must have a presence online.
All said, with a gesture!