- Tue, December 18 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
In our house, there is a trunk full of stuffed animals. I don’t buy them, but my children periodically get them as gifts. We have too many, and the girls only play with a few. So every time I get the chance, I donate a handful of the better stock to charity or, if the stuffed animal sings or squawks something truly annoying, the trash can. But somehow, despite my downsizing, the number of animals remains constant. The trunk is always full. It’s as if these creatures reproduce when I’m at the office each day, their fluffy offspring rapidly replenishing any depletion in their ranks.
The phenomenon is something I call the stuffed animal rule: No matter how hard you try to simplify and give yourself space—to breathe, to live, to think big—silly things always crowd back into your life. Especially this time of year. We try to keep focused on what’s important, but it’s so hard. Stuff gets in the way - fluffy, inconsequential stuff that takes up too much space.
That’s why it’s a challenge to get people’s attention right now. To ask them to help your cause. They want to do good, they think of doing good, but then a flurry of things crowd their minds and the moment is gone. The trunk is full.
Think of your job this time of year as doing two things:
1. Not adding to the clutter. Don’t crowd people with your message. Don’t stuff in a lot of inconsequential detail that gets in the way of your point. Don’t be yet another appeal jamming their inbox. Show great economy in expressing why someone should care and what you can achieve together.
2. Clearing out the clutter. Help people remember what’s more important than the details distracting them from what matters most. Don’t criticize their clutter. But cut through it with the amazing stories that remind us of what it is to be human. Help people get back in touch with what this season is really about. They’ll thank you. And support you. And feel far better.