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Updated: Oct 27, 2023

You only get one chance to make a grand opening. That is unless you’re an advertising agency that gets multiple chances with brands opening in different categories.

One day, we’re enticing a 22-year-old pizza lover to check out their new favorite delivery option. The next, we’re inviting moms to tour a new medical facility. Later that week, we’re thinking about pet adoption, co-working space or perhaps a new bank in a community that desperately needs one.

While we love to explore the nuances of each, we can also consider overarching consistencies to keep in mind as we help our clients get off to the best start possible. Here are three highly scannable ways to make sure your next grand opening lives up to its adjective.

Be A Tease

A little anticipation can go a long way. Building it up doesn’t necessarily require a huge budget, either. For example, you might have foot traffic passing your construction-site-soon-to-be-a-store. Can you stir the gossip pool with a provocative installation before the space is finished? Maybe there’s a way to stir some social media speculation? Humans are naturally curious, and nothing (other than maybe royal family drama) is more intriguing than the promise of something new in the not-so-distant future.

For Toppers Pizza, we invited future fans to get ready to break out of their pizza ruts.

You know how it goes. It’s Tuesday night, and you’re going to order the same thing. You’re excited that you don’t have to make dinner, but you’re not thrilled about the same ol’, same ol’ coming through the door. As a tease to its bold menu of house pizzas and unconventional toppings, Toppers planted the seed that, yeah, maybe it’s about time to shake things up.

When Little Fox began building out its location in Fox Park, we capitalized on neighborhood foot traffic. What was going on in the old Purple Martin? Why are the windows covered? We went ahead and invited walkers-by to look through the logo-shaped peepholes on the door.

For Lake Regional Health System, we talked to providers who were from the town of Lebanon, Missouri. A new facility was coming to town, and no one was more energized by the investment than the staff who lived in the home of the Yellowjackets.

Through social media, we shared their thoughts on the expansion a full year and a half before the ribbon cutting to help spur conversation at the local coffee shops, hair salons and high school football games.

Launch Loud

Okay, the big day is coming. You’re about to throw a party, and you need to make sure people actually show up. We recommend dedicating a significant budget to spreading the word right out of the gate, and coordinate efforts to make the launch as loud as possible. This goes for any new campaign, but it’s especially important when you’re introducing yourself for the first time.

As any marketer will tell you, how you start is a key indication of future success. If you’re hoping to gain steam over a drawn-out period of time, good luck. But your best bet is to go big at the outset.

When we opened a new location of The Watering Bowl Doggy Daycare in the city, we took out a billboard on the main artery leading from downtown to the western suburbs of St. Louis.

Watering Bowl billboard
We secured this board along the always-busy I-64 corridor near downtown

And when they decided to expand across the river, we doubled down on the visibility of outdoor. Not every retailer has a giant storefront. Billboards are a great way to amplify your presence and build credibility with your new audience. There are few better ways to say, “We’re right here, come check us out!” than with 672 square feet of advertising space on the side of the highway.

Watering Bowl billboards
These sequential boards appeared immediately adjacent to the new St. Peters location.

Speaking of billboards–we happen to like them–when Lake Regional opened the Lebanon Campus, we wanted to make sure everyone driving by on I-44 knew we were ready.

Lake Regional's new campus was erected in the shadow of this billboard. We capitalized on the community's anticipation with this board as soon as the campus opened.

It’s not always billboards, though. Especially when you’re advertising what could be considered the largest billboard in the metropolitan area–the St. Louis Arch. This campaign from our early days, leveraged two larger-than-life character reenactors to announce the grand reopening of our most cherished tourist destination through social media and, of course, a theme song inspired by your typical buddy comedy.

For Toppers, we aim to blanket a new market with messaging and reasons to try the best pizza you’ve never had. Working with local radio stations, we build packages that include station giveaways, digital placement, interviews, endorsements from trusted personalities and, of course, spot buys. Direct mail, paid social, geofencing and our old friend outdoor also play a role in making sure everyone within the delivery area are well aware of their new favorite pizza joint.

Screengrab from Toppers grand opening news coverage

Keep It Going

This may be the most obvious one, but it’s easy to forget what made your launch a success and take your foot off the gas pedal. While the expense of a loud launch isn’t necessarily feasible indefinitely, a targeted media plan coupled with a smart creative campaign not only sustain momentum but continue to build on it. (And what better way to grow budgets than by growing revenue?)

After designing the interior space for the second APA location, we directed attention to a worthy endeavor, helping all-too-stigmatized big dogs get adopted.

After developing their identity and launching Saint Louis Boxing Club, we released a campaign that combined the brand ethos with a promotion to stimulate trial.

And for our friends at Toppers, we continuously remind our audience of the highly craveable menu while giving them plenty of excuses to order through the ongoing Can’t Not Have Toppers campaign.

There’s nothing more exciting for an agency than helping birth a new brand. And our job is to make sure that excitement translates to your audience. By teasing, launching loudly and keeping it going, we get to help turn our clients into darlings.


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