What is Remarkable?
Being good is not the same as being remarkable. I have good jeans, but I don’t talk about them. They’re not remarkable.
Being different is not the same as being remarkable. You can be very different from your competitors but still unremarkable.
Being remarkable means people notice you and talk about you.
That includes you, your business, or your product.
Seth Godin explains it very well in his popular book, Purple Cow.
People typically don’t stop to look at cows. They don’t talk about seeing cows to their friends. They’ve seen them before and there’s nothing special about them.
But, if you see a purple cow, you’ll probably stop and look. You might even take a picture, share it with your friends, share it on social media, or tell your friends and family about it.
You want to be a purple cow. Maybe not you specifically, but, your business, your product, or your service.
Why be Remarkable?
People are inundated with choices every day.
We’re bombarded by information, news, advertisements, sounds, sensations, and other forces competing for our attention.
Because there are so many distractions, we filter out most of the things competing for our attention. When you drive to work, you might pass 10 billboards and don’t even notice them.
At the grocery store, you probably walk past hundreds of products without so much as a glance. We’ve become very good at blocking out everything that isn’t necessary, or already known to us.
So, with that in mind, how can you attract people to your books? You start with a great product, then you add that special element that will inspire people to talk about you.
That’s how you attract new readers. People talk about you to other people. People are much more likely to take a look at what you write when a friend, family member, or acquaintance enthusiastically endorses you.
It may not be easy, but that should be your goal. If you can’t stand out from your competitors, you’re going to find it very difficult to prosper.
How to Be Remarkable
Every point of contact with a customer, or potential customer, is an opportunity to be remarkable.
For example, if you run a restaurant, your greeter is crucial. Do you know how many people complain about the Host or Hostess on Yelp? A lot.
But, that’s not the first opportunity you have to get people talking.
Have you ever seen a restaurant parking lot that had something so amazing and unique that you just had to tell people about it? I haven’t, but that’s why it’s an opportunity. No one is paying attention to that part of the experience.
Every part of the customer experience is an opportunity.
Here are a few examples that might get your creative juices flowing.
How do you get people talking about you if you’re a cab driver?
Be extra polite?
How about, give people free candy? Yep, that did it for Monsoor Khalid, a cab driver in New York.
Monsoor fills the space behind the back seats with candy and tells his customers to eat what they want. Simple, yet effective.
He’s been featured on Yahoo, Huffington Post, the New York Times, and the NY Daily News. He even has his own website, where you can request a pickup at a specific time, connect with him on social media, or simply send him a text message.
There’s no shortage of sushi restaurants in New York City.
But, this particular sushi restaurant did something that got people talking.
They banned tipping. Thats right, customers at Sushi Yasuda are not allowed to tip the wait staff.
The owner, Scott Rosenberg, decided to follow the custom in Japan and fully compensate his staff by paying them a higher salary.
Instead of a tip line on the bill, customers see this message instead:
“Following the custom in Japan, Sushi Yasuda’s service staff are fully compensated by their salary. Therefore gratuities are not accepted. Thank you.”
It’s a bold step, but it definitely sparked a lot of conversation, and got them publicity that they wouldn’t otherwise have had.
Socks are socks, right? Yes and no.
It just so happens that you can be remarkable selling socks, if you sell pairs of socks that don’t match.
That’s exactly what Little Miss Matched did. They targeted young girls and sold colorful socks that didn’t match. So, when girls wore them to school, they showed them off to their friends, who in turn wanted to get their own pair of mismatched socks.
Word of mouth marketing at its best, by being different and remarkable.
They’ve since expanded into selling a variety of items, but the socks may have been the edge they needed in the beginning.
Starting a New Business
If you happen to be starting a business and quitting your job at the same time, you might want to do it in spectacular fashion. That’s what Chris Holmes, aka Mr. Cake, did when he quit his job.
Chris worked at the Border Agency at London’s Stansted Airport and decided it was time to move on and pursue his dream of running a cake business, called Mr. Cake.
Naturally, he presented his resignation letter in the form of a cake with the writing as frosting. Of course, he promoted his business to them, as well.
When his brother tweeted a picture of the cake, it went viral. People love a good “I quit” story. He got a lot of publicity for his new business.
Of course, he’s not the only one to quit in a remarkable fashion.
Not too long ago, Marina Shifrin quit her job at a video company by creating a video of her dancing and quitting while venting about her frustrations with her boss.
She posted the video on YouTube (which has since been taken down due to copyright issues) and people liked it. A lot. She got tons of publicity, went on talk shows, and got a job offer from Queen Latifah. Not bad.
Brainstorm Crazy Ideas
It’s not easy to come up with unique ideas that will get people talking about you or your business.
But, a brainstorming session or two just might help you come up with something brilliant.
First, think about your business. List all of the different points of contact with your clients or customers. Think about all of the different “experiences” your customers have and create a list of all of them.
For example, if you have a restaurant your list might look like this:
1. Parking lot
2. Hostess greeting
3. Waiting Area
4. Being seated at table
5. Restaurant design, environment, atmosphere, layout, cleanliness
6. Initial Greeting from Waiter/Waitress
7. Drink Service
8. Wait for Food
9. Food service
10. Attentiveness from Waiter/Waitress
11. Wait for Check
12. Delivery of Check
13. Payment process
15. Making reservations
16. Answering phones
If you have an online business, your list might look like this:
1. Website experience
2. Checkout process
3. Payment process
5. Download experience
6. Delivery estimate vs actual time
7. Product packaging
8. Product quality
9. Return process
10. Customer follow-up/retention
Obviously, your list will be different depending on your industry and your process. Try to be as comprehensive as possible.
For each different item on your list, come up with at least 20 crazy, insane, outside-the-box ideas that would be unique and remarkable.
The more people you can get involved in this process, the better. An idea from one person might trigger another idea from you.
Try not to filter your ideas at this point. In other words, don’t worry about how expensive it might be, whether it would be too difficult to implement, or how customers or clients would perceive something. Stay within the bounds of reality, but definitely try to stretch your imagination.
The primary purpose of this exercise is to come up with potential ideas that would get people talking about your business.
Once you have at least 20 ideas per list item, then you can start going through the list and looking for the best ideas for your business.
Don’t dismiss ideas easily. If something is obviously too expensive, try to come up with an alternative idea that isn’t expensive. In other words, try to make ideas work by reshaping them, don’t just dismiss ideas.
Keep your list available and add to it from time to time. Always look for bigger and better ideas that will get people talking about you.
The third step is to implement your ideas and monitor the results.
You can implement one idea at a time. But, if it makes sense to do so, don’t hesitate to do more than one thing at a time.
Always implement the idea you think will have the biggest, positive impact on your business. The whole purpose of being remarkable is to use it to increase customers, clients, sales, revenue, profits, customer satisfaction, etc.
Now Do It
It’s a simple process.
A simple process does not always mean it’s easy to implement successfully.
The hard part comes in the execution – finding something that works specifically for your business and your unique circumstances.
Keep it simple. Keep brainstorming and testing until you find something that works.
What makes your business remarkable?