There is nothing eye-catching about them, nothing to tell them apart from each other. They are all trying to get my attention with a 10% off offer before a certain date. They all look the same. It also feels like they arrive faster than I can file them away in the recycling bin.
Then last week I received a catalogue from a company that make clothes from bamboo. They sent me some free socks. I looked for the catch. There wasn’t one. The director and founder just wanted to share the company’s story and send me some socks to show me the quality of his product that he was really proud of.
I thought it was a bit random – a bit of a gimmick. But then I checked out the socks. They’re really nice! Blue and purple stripes. Super soft and warm. I’m wearing them now!
The Bamboo clothing company’s catalogue is on my coffee table for consideration at the weekend when I have some time to look properly.
Why am I telling you about my socks?
How often do you receive something in the post that makes you smile, that is a lovely surprise? It doesn’t happen very often from people I know let alone from a company that I didn’t even know existed.
This company has chosen to be different. It’s taken a risk by investing to stand out in a crowded marketplace and wow its potential customers. Of course I don’t know how much it costs to send potential customers socks, how they selected their best prospects or the thinking behind it. Although according to Cialdini and Martins Secrets from the Science of Persuasion, the free socks fit into their universal persuasion principle of reciprocity – an obligation to give back when someone has given to you.
The charity sector is crowded with competition? Are your supporters and potential supporters bored and uninspired? Are they giving despite what you are sending them or because of it? Or are you wowing and delighting them at every opportunity?
I’m a customer in a lot of crowded marketplaces, from clothing to charities to utilities and most things in-between. I’m overwhelmed with similar products and marketing because rather than striving to be different, charities and companies copy each other.
I’ve worked with 100’s of individuals and organisations, helping them to think differently to get better results. The biggest barriers are lack time to think properly, then the confidence to give something different a try. Many organisations want to be different but also want to know that their different tactic will work. They’re anxious about failing and individual and organisational confidence dips and they revert to what they’ve always done. Somehow it feels safer to stick with the crowd than to be different and forge your own path.
Stop to think about what your supporters and your beneficiaries would want. I know I’m just a focus group of one but I’d swap bland monotony filling up my recycling bin for something different, something that makes me think (and keeps my feet warm!), like a great product and an insight into the founder’s mission every time. I’d take a punt that your supporters would too.
What wow moments might you achieve for your supporters if you had the confidence to really give it a try?
If you’d like to build your confidence, then check out the Lucidity Network. A combination of online tools and advice and connection to a dynamic network that can help you build your confidence and get better results.
The Lucidity Network is open for new members a few times a year. To find out more and how to join check out this link.
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