How to create talk triggers that make your business memorable

A talk trigger is something about your business that is remarkable, repeatable, relevant and really simple. Whether strategic in nature or discovered through customers posting and talking online, talk triggers can vault you into a distinct category of your own, where competitors can’t touch you, and you spend far less on paid advertising then them. Sounds like a pretty good deal doesn’t it?

First, let’s understand a few things that are key to talk triggers

Remarkable: The thing must be powerful and memorable.

Repeatable: Since experiences are so easily shared by customers online these days, you need the concept to be easily replicated for ALL customers.

Relevant: The thing that makes you remarkable needs to be relevant to who you are and what you do. It can’t just be catchy for the sake of it.

Really simple: OK, I’m stretched for alliteration here, but the “thing” needs to be simple. It must be easy to understand and easy to communicate.

Some examples of talk triggers

1. Zed Hotel: Located in Victoria and Kelowna BC, the hotel has retro décor, complete with a VW van shuttle, 1960s no speed bikes to use, turn table music and rotary dial phones. The retro appeal everywhere begs for Instagram posts. I wrote about them in Jan 2017 on my blog if you want the whole back-story.

2. Holiday World & Splashing Safari  This may seem like another family theme park, but they have an entire room full of free sunscreen. For families baking in the Indiana sun, this is not only key to a day of fun, it is a talk trigger. Link here to learn more.

3. Elbow Room: This hole in the wall Vancouver restaurant takes abusive service to a whole new level. Check out the reviews on Trip Advisor here. In an industry where owners trip over themselves to give good service, the Elbow Room serves up great food with shockingly bad service. So bad, that it is the talk trigger.

4. Hans Brinker Hotel: Keeping up with the shocking service and treatment theme, the Hans Brinker in Amsterdam takes it to a whole new level, suggesting that they are eco friendly because they don’t heat the place, and using a curtain as a towel could save the planet. There are other irreverent things too – learn more in this post from Jan 2015 about them.  My son is off to Amsterdam as one of his ports of call in Europe this summer. Should I suggest he endure a night?

5. Webers Burgers: On Hwy 11 close to Orillia, Ontario, Webers has been making charcoal BBQ’d hamburgers since 1963. That’s all they do, and they are well known for it. So well known, that in 1983 they acquired a portion of the pedestrian bridge from the CN Tower in Toronto, and erected it as the only privately owned bridge built over a public highway in Ontario. They also doubled their business capturing southbound traffic.

6. South of the Border: A restaurant in South Carolina, I had to Google it to see if it still exists. And it does. In fact, there is an entire Pinterest account devoted to the billboards. You see, I remember driving with my parents to Myrtle Beach during March break (now many years ago) and the South of the Border signs lined the highway for 100’s of miles before you actually arrived. They were not only entertaining; they had your mouth watering with anticipation for Mexican food.

7. Men in Kilts: A Vancouver based window, gutter cleaning and pressure washing company. Need we say more about what gives them a memorable talk trigger. Learn about them here.

8. Graduate Hotel: This is a boutique group of hotels in the US. They do many things remarkably, but the talk trigger is their room key. They all feature fake IDs for famous graduates. Learn more about their story here.

9. Olsen Hotel: This Melbourne, Australia based hotel did a fun promotion called the “overstay policy”. If nobody checks in for your room, you don’t need to check out. Your can stay on an extra night for free. It certainly was a good promotional talk trigger. I wrote about in Feb 2014 on my blog if you want the whole story.

10. Samoa Air: I guess the folks who fly Samoa Air are a little on the hefty side, so the company started charging by weight. $5/pound to fly anyone? I wrote about and other marketing disruptors on my blog in 2013 here. Or check out this CBS news coverage link.

I did a little brainstorming of my own while walking the dog this morning. Do you think any of these could work?

1. No choices restaurant: Only serve breakfast, and only serve bacon, eggs, toast and hash browns. No choices, the chef decides randomly how to do your eggs. Unapologetically serve white bread toast. Be a destination diner, and close at noon.

2. Realtor for 60+ downsizers: Only work with clients 60+ and only folks who are downsizing. Insist on being ID’d. Make the business card a mini house with contact details.

3. The Singing plumber: Or guitar playing electrician? Offer a trades service for in home repair, and play/sing the customer a song at the end. It would be a unique and sharable customer testimonial moment on video.

Ok, seems I’ve gotten carried away, but I love this stuff! The question now becomes, what are YOUR talk triggers?


Mary Charleson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured on


Subscribe to Mary’s Weekly
Five-Minute Marketing Tips.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.