- Sat, November 01 2008
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
Recently, with some trepidation, I told a silly story during a speech. It was about how at age 12 I wore a new pair of electric green pants to school. No one in my class ever let me forget it for the next three years I was at that school. I was small for my age, and between my size and the pants, I got a nickname that stuck: Little Green Pea.
I told this story to a room of 700 people (which felt like therapy in front of a crowd) to make a point: standing out can feel really scary. It can transport us back to that scared 12-year-old conformist in all of us. It’s safer in the herd, doing the same thing as everyone else.
Interestingly enough, this story was the one part of speech everyone cites and remembers when they mention my talk.
That’s because standing out and expressing our personality in a memorable way is what gets people’s attention, captures their interest, and makes them empathetic.
With the economy tanking and fundraising season looking tough, it’s tempting to fear risk, eschew difference and curl up in that 12-year-old ball and do the same things that we’ve always done. It feels easier to stick to the usual scripts.
That would be a mistake.
Now is the time to be unique and deeply personal in all our marketing. It is the best time to stand out and say what’s special about ourselves, because there are fewer resources to go around. We have to be the Green Pea right now, not the face in the crowd.