That’s right, I’m not even going to keep you in suspense. No long introductions with back-door explanations. I want you to know right up front that if you want to rock your marketing then you’ve got to tap into the power of that uniquely quirky thing called personality.
With a lot of talk about “personal branding” you may think this is that.
What I’m talking about is much simpler and much more powerful. Your personality. Your client’s. Your prospect’s. That total stranger’s, who is neither client nor prospect but could be if you only knew how to ignite the spark.
“Pshaw!” You may be thinking. “That’s nice touchy-feely new-age-y talk, but what’s the ROI? Where are the clicks? How many page views does that get?”
If you don’t believe me, I’m going to show you how the power of personality can contribute to the success… nay, the triumph…! of your business. The best part? Personality is free, it’s abundant and it’s easy to use if you know how.
The Back-Door Explanation
If you’re still reading it means you’re ready to take your marketing from ‘ok’, ‘good’, maybe even ‘pretty good’ to fan-stinkin-tastic.
But let me ask you a few questions first.
Do you have a Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest board or some other presence on social networks?
Do you send out email newsletters, offers, updates or other communications?
Have you printed business cards, brochures, flyers, postcards, mailers or any other collateral materials?
Do you blog, publish ebooks, send out press releases, take interviews or otherwise get your name out there?
Do you conduct webinars, seminars or speak at events or trade shows?
Do you have a website? (Does it have an “About” page… and is it any good?)
If you’re engaged in any marketing at all then you’ve said “yes” to at least one, most likely several and quite possibly all of those.
Do you have any idea how much marketing noise is out there? I know I don’t have to tell you. Every time you open your inbox, check your mailbox, turn on your TV, play Angry Birds or browse online you’re bombarded with marketing and advertising messages.
As marketers and business people, the challenge is no longer “how to get the message out there”. There are a batrizillion ways to do that. The challenge is “how do you get noticed in all the noise?”
Bet you can guess what I’m going to say… personality.
Personality Is Not The Same As Personal Branding, Transparency Or “Voice”
In a social marketing world, we’re often told to be the “face” of our company. We’re told to be honest and transparent. Available and engaged.
All good advice but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking very literally about what makes you you. All the weird, wonderful, obscure things that you may or may not tell people about yourself. And all the weird, wonderful and obscure things we may or may not learn about others.
That you salt your watermelon.
That you secretly play ‘Magic The Gathering’ with your teenage son and his geek friends on Saturday nights.
That you love anything and everything written by Ayn Rand (now that would be weird!)
Everything that makes you quirky, eccentric, unique, interesting, quite possibly eyebrow-raising and memorable to others – that’s your personality.
What This Has To Do With Your Marketing
I’m going to repeat something that I’ve said before and many, many people have said before me – and you are welcome to beat me over the head with the obvious stick but it bears repeating: people do business with people they like.
This is not a revelation. For years to come, marketers will be spouting the same cliché.
Fortunately, that doesn’t make it any less true.
Unfortunately, not only do we ignore it because it’s so often repeated, but I also think we tend to forget it as we strive to be “faces” and “voices” in this brave new world of online engagement.
Here’s what this has to do with your marketing: everything.
In a noisy marketing-filled world the only hope that you have of succeeding in business is getting noticed and staying noticed. Your products may be great. Your services may be superb. Your attention to detail may be unmatched, your customer service flawless. Anyone can compete with you on those points, but nobody can compete with you on being you.
That’s the power we’re going to explore right now.
Step 1: Know Yourself
You have no idea how many people tell me, “I’m not that interesting.”
Confessions all around: there are times when I feel “not that interesting”, too. But that’s because we’re used to the routine of our lives and lots of times we’re not doing anything all that interesting! We work, we go to the gym, we have dinner with our families, we sleep. Not exactly a nail-biter of a day, is it?
But routine is not who you are. When people insist they’re not that interesting it’s because what they’re really thinking is, “I’m not doing anything interesting right now.”
Instead of getting mired in the moment, I want you to think about what things define you as a person.
What do you love? What gets your creative juices flowing? What lights up your eyes? What little behavioral eccentricities do your best friends always (so helpfully) point out? What things do you keep in the back of your mind or your closet because they don’t pertain to your daily activities… yet?
I’ll give you an example from my end so hopefully the gears will start spinning on yours.
Do you know what I love to do at the end of a tough day or first thing on a relaxing Saturday morning? I love to get myself to the pistol range and unload the clip of a 40-caliber Walther PPQ into the head of a zombie.
A general survey of my friends and acquaintances puts that in the “kinda weird” column.
When I’m frustrated I dump a bag of chocolate chips into a jar of peanut butter and spoon it all into my mouth.
Whenever I get any kind of emotional the retro Italian in me comes out and I talk louder and louder and gesture wider and wider. Many times that’s accompanied by something getting broken.
Are you getting it? You may not know much about me but if I asked you in a week to recall what you do know, I bet one of those little quirky things will come to mind!
You may wonder why this matters to marketing. It matters because by telling you that I have a penchant for pistols and zombies, I’ve become memorable. I’ve become more than that girl who blogs and does creative something or other.
By telling you that I may have opened a door for you to share your own secret zombie yearnings.
By telling you that I’ve elevated marketing to sharing – and in doing so I’m building a relationship with you, one quirky bit at a time.
And I didn’t have to dig very far to do it. I simply pulled the rug of everyday predictability out from under you, lit the spark, baited the hook – and did it just by being myself.
Take this moment right now to think about what quirky things define you. Celebrate the weirdness and uniqueness that you bring to the world. Be the biggest, boldest you that you can be. Use your personality to create the top-of-mind awareness with your prospects and customers that other (less smart) marketers fall all over themselves trying to do with daily bombardments of emails, Facebook posts, coupons and postcards.
Next time someone insists you need a USP or asks you about your mission statement, zonk them on the head with your favorite twirling baton and tell them you were a Color Guard champ in the 6th grade, so take that and stick it in your USP.
Step 2: Get To Know Others
Knowing and embracing your own coolness is only half the story. Remember, we’re building relationships, which means there’s another person involved.
One of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal is your ability to ferret out and mentally index the quirkiness of others.
It’s a fact of psychology that the people we like the best are the ones who make us feel best about ourselves. We may admire or respect a super cool or brilliant person but if she makes us feel stupid and crummy, we aren’t going to like her all that much.
If you can help others like themselves they’re going to transfer all that liking to you. More liking = more doing business with. A win-win all around.
So how do you do that? The same way you’ve explored and identified your own unique fabulousness, you need to do the same for others. By revealing part of yourself, you may find a shared connection. The day a prospect says to me, “No way, I totally love zombies! I already planned for the apocalypse and everything…” is the day I bet you I win a customer for life.
I have, in fact, closed several business deals over shared quirks, from dessert choices to automobile pet peeves to cigars. And no, it’s not the thing itself but the connection I made and the relationship I built with the other person. The “thing” was just a catalyst. It was the thing that made someone remember me when every other service provider was making similar promises and offering similar deals.
But even if you don’t share a quirk with someone, you can still make this work for you. Simply find out what makes your customer or prospect unique. It may take a little digging but imagine how powerful it could be if your prospect confesses to having a secret collection of trilobite fossils and you just happen to come across one on your trip to the museum this weekend (and send it as a thank-you-for-meeting-with-me gift)?
…if your prospect states a love for all things Harley Davidson and you send a link to your favorite similarly themed Pinterest board?
…if your prospect is a red wine connoisseur and you ask for her advice on the best bottle for your next dinner party?
Not only does this create a connection but it shows that you’re actually interested in someone beyond their ability to line your pockets.
And here’s another perk: it can be tough to remember the names of your prospect’s three kids, where he went to college or how he chose his career direction (all most excellent things to know and capitalize on!) But it’s a whole lot easier to remember that he loves Scooby Doo so much that he has that famous cartoon character tattooed in the middle of his back.
Don’t Take It From Me. Try It.
Personality is free. It’s always there, waiting for you to tap into it and use it to your advantage. You don’t need any special skills – except perhaps the power of observation and some conversational ability. There are no requirements or “best practices”. The only rule is: be yourself.
And best of all, this is an opportunity that only you have. Nobody else in the world can compete with you on you. Nobody else can use what you know, feel and do.
In the moment when you share a bit of quirk with another person, you’re both hooked. And when it comes to marketing, that moment is all you need to create a connection.
If you haven’t thought of at least one thing about yourself that you can use or one way to capitalize on what you know about someone else then you’ve got homework!
Start right now: tell me about one of your quirks or eccentricities and get me hooked!
This post is part of the May 2012 Word Carnival — a monthly group blogging event specifically for small business owners. (It’s the most fun you’ll have all month!) Check out the rest of the fabulous carney work here.
Join the discussion 31 Comments
Great post, Carol Lynn! What you’re reminding us here is that ATTENTION is the new currency, and if you want to cut through the “marketing noise” (oh my yes) to grab the attention of the pitch-perfect prospects for what you have to offer, you have to be memorable. You have to be uniquely YOU, in a thoughtful, strategic way. (Playing true confessions on the web is NOT what this is about – there is such a thing as “too much information”!)
Oh heavens, this is most certainly not about “true confessions”. If everyone in my sphere suddenly starts spouting TMI, I suppose you can blame me 🙂 Attention yes, but in a positive and productive way and as you said so well, a thoughtful and strategic way.
CR- I’m happy I found u in all the clutter 🙂 am enjoying your thoughts tremendously! Keep em coming … Off to shoot some aliens 😉
Thanks Jan, I appreciate that and I’m really glad you enjoy my often long ramblings 🙂 And now that you mention it, I could get behind shooting up a few aliens!
“retro Italian”…so I’m thinking you’re my sister from another mother and will probably never forget this quirk!
I love how you put this together. Your voice, your quirks, and your knowledge all coming together to create such a valuable resource!
Sandi, if things tend to shatter into tiny pieces in your presence then we have something in common 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement, this was a fun topic and I loved everyone’s quirks.
Congratulations on a FABULOUS first carnival post, Carol Lynn! Of course, you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t fab to begin with…but still! LOVED this one. And really? You like to shoot guns? Into zombies? I would NEVER have guessed that about you. Although…things ARE starting to make sense…Thanks for reminding us all about the power of rapport!
(I’m so stealing this –> “Take that and stick it in your USP.”)
Thanks, Tea, I’m so glad I could participate and (phew!) get the first post done without pissing off any elephants. Just keep your zombies away from me 😉
(Sweet potatoes? I could get behind that!)
Love the idea of quirks making you memorable, Carol Lynn. Interestingly, one of the things I do when interviewing people for features is ask about the things they really enjoy, outside of whatever we’re supposed to be talking about. And I’ll often reveal something about myself too – that human connection takes us beyond the mundane.
Absolutely agree on the interviews! I work with people a lot on their bios and I always ask for that “personal touch”. It’s mostly like pulling teeth. All people ever want to tell you is… “lives in Anytown with his wife and dog.” Ha! They could all take a lesson from this topic.
I will ALWAYS remember you for unloading the clip in the Zombie picture..a girl after my own heart! Something I always wanted to learn to do and have not pursued. When two personalities gel…magic happens and yes, we have to know who we are. I have learned to not accept clients when we don’t get a spark on that 1st conversation..it never turns out the best. I love this social space we venture through these days. When we pay attention, we DO find those personalities that serve us..people often reveal themselves and don’t even know it…we just need to pay attention. Great post!
Thanks Michelle and any time you want to knock out a few zombies, you just let me know. I know what you mean about the “spark”. When you get that in the beginning it’s always a much more fun project.
Zombie target shooting? You just gained like 10,000 cool points in my book! It’s funny you brought this up. My kids have a a plan for everything, including Zombie apocalyptic take over. Ok it’s more of a fun “What if” game we play. But it goes right to your point of personality. Sharing this stuff online allows others to see you in a different light. It bridges the gap between you and the next person.
The Network Dad
Ken, you’d be surprised how popular zombies are. Ok, maybe YOU wouldn’t be surprised… but don’t think my husband and I don’t sit around doing the same thing 🙂 I like your point about bridging the gap. It really helps us see people as people and not just some impersonal profile which is so prevalent in social media especially. Thanks for stopping by!
OMG, Zombie shooting! I would have never thought that about you Carol but you are so right, that’s definitely sticking with me. I also love that you’d load that peanut butter up with chocolate chips. That’s what I’m talking about girl. Two of my favorite foods.
I agree with you, people want to know more about you. I did a post on me last year on my birthday so people could get to know a little more about me and that wasn’t enough. They wanted to know more.
Like you mentioned, a lot of us don’t see ourselves as very interesting. I certainly don’t which is why I had a hard time starting this venture. I still don’t.
I don’t have any quirkiness stuff to share either. See, I told you! I have a big personality, I am loud, I have a big laugh, a big smile and I love people. I don’t do anything special to take out my frustrations and I’ve never been to the gun range. I own one though but have only shot it once.
See, I have some work to do Carol but you’ve gotten me to thinking. That’s what I love about your posts. You keep me thinking.
Adrienne, you are so interesting! And now that you said you have a gun that you only shot once, I really, really want to know what you shot at!
If you have a chance, check out the rest of the posts from the “Word Carnival” in this series (the link is at the bottom of the post). Everyone in the group shared their quirky things and it was such a fun read. I love learning cool little things about people. I especially love getting to know more than just the “social profile” that everyone sees every day.
Now where’s that peanut butter jar 🙂
Love this post, Carol Lynn! A grand Word Carnival entrance, for sure. I know that I’m still mired in Step 1, but I also know that there’s plenty for me to own in that space, and that I’m on my way to something greater. Thanks for helping that along.
I wish I could fly. Not in a Superman-envy kind of way, and not in an airplane. Like I actually wish very very badly that I had the ability to fly. That would be so fun and beautiful, and I well up just thinking about it.
I love it, Evan! Wanting to fly in any kind of literal or figurative sense is pretty unique even by way of quirks, so own it! The question is, do you want to do it with or without wings 😉
Finally back after the holidays here and all. Fabulous post, I love the fact that you are telling us to use something as cheap and easy to find as our own personality. I didn’t see you as a gal with a gun 🙂 Yes, there is sure a lot to learn about others and we are naturally nosy so we love that!
Talking about getting to know others, I am trying to do more interviews for each of my three blogs and I was thinking about interviewing you, using the same kind of format I’ve used to interview Annie Andre on my travel blog, but you it would be for my writing blog. I would send you the questions in a written form and all you’d have to do is write the answers. Would you do it?
I hope you’ll say yes, in the mean time thanks for this super post and see you around 🙂
I didn’t think of it that way, but you’re right, we are naturally nosy! that’s why storytelling, especially of the personal kind, works so well. You’re quite good at that and I always enjoy the little things you reveal about yourself in your posts. I’d be happy and honored to do an interview for your blog. Thanks so much for thinking of me!
Great I’m so happy Carol. I will send you my interview your way soon. I guess I’ll use your contact form, unless you want me to use another channel. But we’ll start there.
So many people think it’s about doing marketing the same way everyone else is in order to compete, when it’s so much more about using your quirks to stand out in the midst of all the other marketing “noise”. The biggest hurdle is being OK enough with your own quirks to let them work for you. Great first post!
Thanks Katrina, and I agree whole-heartedly – people want to do things “right” so they do it the way they see everything else doing it, not realizing they’re just making themselves invisible. Everyone is unique – I wish everyone would embrace it!
Welcome to the carnival Carol! And what a spectacular entrance.
From a personal POV I totally love the zombie thing. Once I met a potential client at the firing range to try out a few of his favorite handguns. Most of my colleagues thought I was crazy. I said not really. I bet this guy has a concealed handgun permit (he does), so he’s carrying either way. He’s the one handing a total stranger a loaded weapon!
You have actually shared one of my personal mantras (ok it’s not just mine). People buy from people. Through in the fact you highlight personality is free and abundantly available for this cost conscious gal, and I’m swooning.
Hooray, another zombie/gun-toting enthusiast! I’ve gone to the firing range with clients and it’s always pretty fun and memorable. I think that small businesses have a big advantage when it comes to the “people” mantra. It’s because we ARE people – no corporate faces, no phone queues. So we can use that to get an edge over large organizations. And free doesn’t hurt, either!
Thrills and chills! Welcome to Word Carnivals, Carol Lynn. Your flagship carnival post is nothing short of a spectacular center-ring performance! 🙂
Truer than true …
“The best part? Personality is free”
I’m a gargantuan proponent of infusing the maximum degree of personality into all your marketing efforts … especially blogging. I hate writing articles but I love blogging. Why, you ask? (Okay, you didn’t ask. But I’m gonna lay it on ya anyway) Because blogging doesn’t have any stiff or staunch writing rules. It’s all about conversational-style writing. Bloggers can take the liberty to add buckets of warmth, wit, and wonder to their posts. Can I hear an “Amen”?!
I once entered five blogging challenges, back to back. It’s a wonder I have any meat left on the tufts of my fingers. LOL
Totally fabbytastic post!
Amen! You’re so right that blogging can be the place where you really shine and I wish everyone would, instead of writing those blah “someone told me to blog” things.
It’s also about forgetting a lot of what your English teacher taught you and taking grand liberties with language so that you can entertain and educate at the same time.
I’m glad your tufts grew grew back because I enjoy your style 🙂 I think good bloggers just have that magic regenerative capability. Thanks for your kind words!
Wow Carol Lynn, what an awesome introduction to the collected wisdoms of the Carnies. 100 percent with you on everything you’ve said about personality. When I started on this online milarky I had, in retrospect, the great fortune to be tutored by Ken Evoy et al of Site Build It. Such an ingenue, I became a disciple of everything they said. They were big on being real and ‘your voice’, aka your personality.
It was an initiation by fire trying to let go and speak from ‘me’ instead of keeping everything buttoned up behind the professional mask of the previous way-too-many decades to admit here! Oh okay 2.5! But it worked and I connected with an amazing community of people who do amazing things today and for that I’ll be forever grateful.
It also informed so much of what I know now about connecting online and so it seemed appropriate to mention it given the emphasis you’ve so rightly drawn to the gift of our personality.
To that I would add one more ingredient, passion. Mix passion and personality and you have a powerful cocktail, if you’re prepared to unleash it.
What has been amazing about this series of quirkology posts is the validation for almost every chapter written in my very close to being finished book, Clans, How To Harness The Passion Of People Online. It is super exciting! And your’s in particular resonated Carol Lyn, thank you!
With Tea too, love that ‘Take that and stick it in your USP!”
Thanks for sharing your own experiences, Sandy. I’ll admit I’m pretty new to the party when it comes to the whole “unleashing” thing. I spent an awful lot of time trying to get it right instead of getting it real. But when I’m the most “me” is when I find the best people and make the best connections.
I also agree with your statement about passion. They go hand-in-hand because if you’re going to be you, it’s got to be… well, you! And that usually comes with something you care about.
I’ve enjoyed all the quirkology posts and the really fascinating thing is that they’re all so unique and have their own spin on the concept. They’re all quirky, if you will!
Your book sounds great and I hope it’s really almost finished because I will definitely be checking it out. Keep me posted and thanks for your thoughts.
Carol, when I read Erika’s book “The Power of Unpopular”, I was instantly reminded of this blog post. “Personality is free” – and in fact, a minimum viable personality is what’s recommended to make things really fly. You have to be able to differentiate just enough, delight just enough, and add just enough value to make your business personality fly.
Great advice – and in the event of a Zombie apocalypse, I know where I’m finding my ally! 😀
Nick, I’ve been wanting to read that book and somehow haven’t got around to it. You just made me bump it back to the top of my list!
Sounds like a new blog post opportunity there in your comment… why you need an MVP if you want to succeed in business (minimum viable personality). Think I’ll have to steal that one.
I’m ready any time the zombies are…