My friend, Mary, was in a community theatre production of The Mikado, and was asked to write her bio for the printed program. This being her first theatrical role, she had little to say about herself professionally that related. So instead, she “humorized” on the concept of what a biography is, sidestepping the usual “this is what I’ve accomplished” in favor of “this is how I see things”. She ended up saying far more about who she is, and in a more engaging way, than any other cast member did. Not only that, but Mary’s bio is the one we recall, giggle over and share because it’s just too funny not to. Mary made herself memorable.
There’s a clue for the rest of us here. Certainly you’ve noticed that it’s become very difficult to stand out from the crowd. Being a creative has become “normalized” and there is a lot of competition for design jobs, clients and projects. If you’re a design client, you’re not the only enterprise clamoring for attention in your marketplace. How do you get noticed? By taking a different approach. Do things differently. Don’t just say you’re creative. Don’t just say you’re customer-centric, offer amazing products, or do great work. Show it.
What is remark-ability? It’s any quality or effort that’s worthy of people making remarks about it. Things that are remarkable are what people want to talk about, and when they talk, others listen and begin talking about it. Being remarkable is something we can aspire to and set the groundwork for, but it’s not something we can truly control, since it’s others who need to think we’re remarkable.
Remark-ability is any quality or effort that’s worthy of people making remarks about it.
I believe that every person and every enterprise is remarkable in some way, but we don’t always recognize when we are. To discover your remark-ability, think back over the past year to those events and qualities others made mention of, that were perhaps not part of your planned strategies and tactics. What got noticed and shared without any investment on your part? Take that and build a feature (a marketing campaign, design asset, new product, specialized service, publication, etc.) around it. Sometimes we stumble upon our good qualities while in the process of pursuing something else.
There is a down side to being remarkable. Negative remarks happen, and we can’t really prevent them, just like we can’t plan the positives. What one customer sees as a good quality, another will interpret as negative. Decide up front how you will handle the negatives, whether to ignore, address or re-direct, and focus on the larger percentage of positives.
One last thought: Be humble about being remarkable. Enhance and communicate those things that make you noteworthy, but let others do the remarking. Mary was simply being herself when she wrote her little bio for the community theater program. She didn’t over-play or boast. But those who read it were impacted in a positive way: it make them smile and laugh, and gave them a new perspective.
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Thanks for drawing out this lesson on creativity. Inspiring!
I wrote a song 10+ years ago called “ordinariness” …
since so much emphasis was placed on being extraordinary, that the concept of being ordinary was quite appealing. admitting ones own ordinariness makes them real, and people being real always makes a great impression on me.
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