We can all agree that being boring is, well, boring. It’s hard enough to get people to listen to anything, let alone get them to do anything with the information you’ve just given them (that they haven’t listened to). Our culture always assumes fault with the listener. They should have listened better, he has Attention Deficit Disorder, she only talks about herself etc. We’re pre-built to assume it’s our fault if we didn’t listen. But what if it’s not? What if the message is to blame?

Aside from having great hair Mitt Romney was on to something when he said that “companies are people too.” Think about that. What kind of person would your company be? Would you hang out with them? Before Mitt Romney was running for president for the 11th time somebody else said basically the same thing, and he also had great hair. Maybe there’s a connection. Lee Clow was the guy responsible for that 1984 Apple ad as well as a ton of others. He said “brands are like people, who would you want to have over?”

So, how do you do it? How do you make your brand more interesting. It starts with the communication and marketing. Here are the first five steps to make your marketing and your company more invite-able to dinner.

  1. Entertain. Your highest priority is not to inform, you can get to that only if you’ve gotten their attention first. Start treating everything you do as an opportunity to entertain. That doesn’t mean dancing cats every single time, but it could be. You have to find the right way to be entertaining within the sandbox that is your industry.
  2. Remember your industry is only interesting to you. No one will find antique carpet fiber collection more riveting than you. Do not assume anyone finds your industry as interesting as you do. There’s a reason you do it for a living, hopefully, you think it’s just neat.
  3. Have a point of view. Nothing is more dull than something that’s trying to avoid having any opinion at all. You cannot please everyone, and you shouldn’t try to. But middle roads all end in a dead end. That said, don’t be an insulting jerk. Unless your customers will find that funny (see Cards Against Humanity emails).
  4. Be funny. I say this with caution. Be funny if you have the ability to be funny. You are probably not funny. Or, you may be more funny than you realize. Don’t try too hard. There is nothing more painful than someone trying to be funny when they’re anything but. This is not the time to audition for Lorne Michaels, but you don’t have to be stale.
  5. Use emotion. There are twenty four different emotions you can use in storytelling. From those twenty four, maybe only four apply to you — probably less. Let your emotions come through. It’s okay. Find at least one and let that come through in your marketing. For example Coke has found Happiness as their emotion. What’s yours?

…6–10 to be continued in Part II of this series.



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