Nobody notices normal.
Not anymore, at least.
Fifty years ago? Maybe.
But this is 2007. Our culture is crowded. It is cluttered. It is LOUD!
Creating products, ideas, philosophies and brands that are normal is like asking customers to find a needle in a stack of needles.
Here’s why this is happening:
1. The Time-Choice Paradox. There’s entirely too much stuff out there. Too many products. Too many blogs. Too many service providers. Too many options. Too many choices. And this trend creates the ultimate irony: with every new choice comes less time in which customers have to make it.
See, several decades ago, people weren’t as rushed. But then again, they didn’t have 97 kinds of energy bars to choose from.
LESSON LEARNED: the competition is fierce. Stand out or get counted out.
2. Changing Expectations. The absolute minimum of customer expectations is radically higher than it used to be. (You can thank the Internet for this one.) Think about it. The luxuries we experience daily were unimaginable fifty years ago: instant access to unlimited information, 24-7 shopping options, overnight delivery (God bless FedEx) and of course, mass-customization.
As such, customers expect to talk to you (not a machine) right now. Oh, and whatever they’re buying, they want it their way – right now. So if you can’t provide those minimum requirements, expect to hear a hearty ‘Peace out!’ from those would-be customers. Because as you learned from #1, there’s plenty of other websites they can go to. Right now.
LESSON LEARNED: match your minimum level of service to the speed and need of the buying culture.
3. Crank it Up. The cool thing about the Internet is not only its capacity to build, encourage and sustain community, but the fact that it gives anyone and everyone a voice. A platform. A soapbox. A forum. Unfortunately, the result is a mass cranking-up of the total volume of our culture. It reminds me of that scene in Spinal Tap when the guitar player keeps explaining that the volume button on his amp actually goes all the way to eleven. It’s just that loud.
Think of it this way. Your downstairs neighbor is playing her music really loud. So you play yours louder to drown it out. Then your upstairs neighbor plays his louder to drown yours out. Then his upstairs neighbor plays his louder to…
You get the point.
LESSON LEARNED: if everyone else is yelling, you must yell louder.
How to Escape the Normality Trap
Now, considering these three cultural shifts – time/choice, expectations and volume – I don’t want you to think that ‘normal = bad.’ Being normal is totally cool.
But, just remember these two things:
1. Companies, people, products and ideas that get noticed get ahead.
2. Companies, people, products and ideas that don’t get noticed get left behind.
HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: the world is dying for uniqueness.
HERE’S THE BETTER NEWS: escaping The Normality Trap simply takes a conscious effort on your part to (consistently) make the mundane memorable.
To transform underleveraged fundamentals like voicemail messages, articles, speeches, books, businesses cards, conversations, websites, blogs and promotional materials…
…into distinctive, approachable, word-of-mouth worthy GOLD MINES.
As a result,
Instead of being Some Guy, you become That Guy.
Instead of searching for customers, you attract and cultivate fans.
Instead of trying to sell, you enable people to buy.
And that’s when THEY start coming to YOU.
They = new clients.
They = the media.
They = people who want to help.
They = opportunities you never would have expected.
So. Still thinking about being normal?