By Jenny Fujita and Joy K. Miura, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

“Freedom fries to go please.” That’s what customers of Cubbie’s in Beaufort, North Carolina are ordering these days. According to CNN.com’s February 19 news, at Cubbie’s “You can get fries with your burger…but just don’t ask for French fries. Neal Rowland, the owner of Cubbie’s, now only sells his fried potato strips as ‘freedom fries’ — a decision that comes as Americans watch French officials back away from support for possible war in Iraq.”

This was a brilliant PR strategy especially given that “Rowland said his intent is not to slight the French people…’It’s our way of showing our patriotic pride,’ noting that his business has a lot of local military troops as customers.”

This is an example of taking a current event relevant to your customers and making it work for you. In this time when businesses have heightened anxieties about the looming war, Rowland framed a negative situation creatively and got more exposure out of it than a costly advertising campaign.

Obviously, this tactic would have been a bad move if his customer base was comprised of war opponents. To apply this tactic in your own business, consider what your customers are concerned about or interested in today. Do your products or services relate to these interests or concerns? If so, great! If not, get creative. After all, Rowland linked fried potatoes to patriotism. You can do it too.

Once you’ve figured out the link, communicate it to your customers. They’ll know you understand them and acknowledge the things they care about. Customers will feel your products or services were made specifically for them and will recommend your business to their friends with similar interests.

What is your freedom fry?

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