A Simple Example of an Effective Difference

Last week’s characteristically mind-bending newsletter highlighted the importance of being different in the way you present yourself and your company to the world.

In particular, we talked about how little things can have a big impact, provided they highlight real distinctions that customers and clients can understand.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, I came across a terrific example last weekend, while spending the day in beautiful, Newburyport, Massachusetts.

We’ve all seen the standard signs posted outside retail establishments: No food, no drinks, no pets, no odd-looking relatives, etc. 

And I suppose it makes sense from the retailer’s point of view.  After all, you’d rather not spend time mopping up someone’s spilled latte after they drip it onto your neatly stacked pile of Burgundy Shawl Patch Pocket Cardigans (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL).

Unless, of course, you’re willing to endure a few mishaps in exchange for standing out from the crowd, something I love about The Book Rack, a Newburyport book store that boasts a sign out front specifically inviting dogs, kids, food and drink.  (They even give out doggy treats at the front counter, something my leashed friend Abbie was happy to learn.)

Differences like these are easy to understand by customers and easy to implement by you. The trick, of course, is being observant enough to spot the opportunity and bold enough to do something about it.

Got your own example of a company (maybe even you) doing this kind of thing well? Don’t be shy, share it below so we all can learn!

P.S.  For more on standing out from the crowd of competitors stubbornly nipping at your heels, register now for my webinar later this month: How to be a Leading Expert You won’t regret it (although your stubborn competitors might). Details here.


P.P.S. Even if you don’t want to register for the webinar, at least go to the page and tweet and/or “Like” it, in the hope that some of your less discriminating colleagues would be willing to send me their money.  

16 thoughts on “A Simple Example of an Effective Difference

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Bill — Yes, a great treat to stumble upon it after NOT being able to go into so many stores that day.

      And thanks to the link to Seth’s post. Great stuff!

  1. Lauren

    I just heard the recorded message one of our vendors has on their corporate line:

    Press 1 to be sweet talked by customer service.
    Press 2 to be upsold by a sales rep.
    If you have money in your pocket and would like to pay a bill press 3.
    For a directory of our awesome staff press 4.
    If you don’t know who you need press 0 to be impressed by our awesome customer service.

        1. Michael Katz Post author

          That video is amazing Lauren! No kidding, such a great example of integrating humor into a serious topic. I’m so impressed with whomever at that company came up with that idea and (no doubt) had to defend it from coworkers who feared it might make them appear unprofessional. Fantastic!

          1. Michael Katz Post author

            I agree Lorrie. I, for one, can not get enough pirate humor. Did you know you can change the language of your facebook page from English to Pirate? Under account settings, select “English (pirate).” Then take a look at ye page (matey).

          2. Lauren

            Thanks Lorrie! So far I’ve been able to work Pirates, Zombies, Unspeakable Horrors, and the movie Demolition Man into the blog. So far the pirates are my favorite.

  2. Pam Lutey

    Great sign! With the economy going down quickly, businesses have to do anything they can to get people through the door! Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Jean Gogolin

    Our vet has a sign on the door welcoming pets to come in and wander around greeting each other, but asking that kids be kept on leashes. love that idea.

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      I love that. I always enjoy too how the vet feels like going to the pediatrician, like when they call her in the waiting room: “Abbie Katz!”

  4. Tina Bemis

    I love taking pictures of negative and positive signs. Saw one once that said “Nursery Ends Here” instead of the usual “Employees only” or “Employees only beyond this point” or simply “DO NOT ENTER!”

  5. Doug Sowerbutts

    This is effing (short for effective!!) good stuff Michael…the main point is having the courage to to do it. I still do direct mail and on the quality envelopes i stamp an image of a large fly back and front in a couple of places.


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