Pro-bono for promotion – how about getting paid instead?
Free chair massages, sketchpads, comics, therapy dogs and a ‘graffiti walk’ where you can express your angst? What is this, a spoof of a new spa concept? Well no, guess again, it’s a student relaxation center at the U. of Tennessee in Knoxville.
“The UT libraries are trying to help students relax and recharge,” says Libraries Dean Steven Smith. “Students spend many hours in the library, so we have a unique opportunity to help students engage with campus life and forge the personal connections that are as essential to academic success as books and computers.”
Sounds kind of like a pop-up store, except the purpose is to soothe frayed nerves during finals week . . . universities sure have come a long way down the path of enlightenment since, ahem, we were in school.
Relaxation Massage – Why not?
So who’s bankrolling this relaxation center – oh, and did we mention there’s an ice cream social too – which the library has dubbed, ‘De-Stress for Success’? And if you’re a massage professional looking for promo ideas, what’s the take-away here?
1. Pro bono massage does not have to be free. According to our contact at the Knoxville Massage Therapy Center (KMTC), they are being compensated for their participation in this event; it’s not a freebie. Parents, the library, alumni and the Graduate Student Senate pooled the funds to make this happen. If you visit the UT event webpage here, you’ll see that even though KMTC is being paid for providing the chair massages, they’re still noted on the UT website as the massage provider. Not bad!
2. The promotional benefit of paid collaboration. Consider offering up a ‘family and friends’ promo or discount rate before you cave to giving away your massage services free of charge. You’re providing something of value and it’s not mass-produced or factory-made but customized for each individual. It’s not unreasonable to ask for some compensation, even if you’re doing the massage work at a special promo rate for a good cause, like stressed-out students.
3. The good publicity does not have to end when the massage is over. When you participate in a creative event like this, don’t forget to bring along your smart phone and take short videos or still photos (with permission) showcasing your participation – especially when the promo is an ‘out of the box’ concept like this one. Post the pix and tell folks about the event on your website and your blog and then draw attention to it via Facebook, Twitter, Twitpic, etc. Old PR saw: It’s not enough to get good publicity; more media outlets are better so share the experience and the publicity!
Last words: So the next time you see a librarian, say ‘thanks’ and tell them how much you admire good ol’ UT Libraries Dean Steven Smith for recognizing the the value of massage – even in the library – to ease student stress.