I don’t think Scott Hauser, the pastor at my church, thinks much about advertising, branding and marketing. But I do. So he may be surprised to hear how I re-interpreted his sermon on Sunday morning (and now I’m watching the sky for lightening). He told a heartwarming story about two of his friends from Northwest Pennsylvania who drove 10 hours to Western (don’t call me West) Virginia to attend a 2-hour memorial service for his mother-in-law. Immediately after the service, the friends turned right around and drove 10 hours home so they could make it to work the next day. What they did was so far beyond the expected that it was totally unreasonable. He summarized with this simple statement:
Do something unreasonable. And people will never forget it.
In business, brand memorability is everything. If you are not top-of-mind when someone is considering a purchase, or offering a recommendation, you have lost an opportunity. And the best way to make sure you are top-of-mind is to do something that people will never forget (it’s a real plus if that thing is also positive and legal).
Too often we focus on the blocking and tackling. The fundamentals. The rational and reasonable. And we forget that one well-placed, well-intended bit of crazy may be more powerful than the rest of our carefully considered efforts. It doesn’t have to be Red Bull-ish either. I once ordered a t-shirt from Ames Bros, and when the package arrived it came with a free sweatshirt! Not the other way around, which would have been reasonable. And now look at me. I’m all blogging about Ames Bros (because I’ll never forget that surprise hoodie goodie).
But here’s the kicker. You have to act before you need the results. Do it soon. Do something today if you can. Remember the Ruth’s Chris Steak House promotion this fall? They offered a discount equivalent to the point difference in the final score of the 2016 Michigan-Rutgers college football game. They didn’t expect Michigan to win by 78 points. But now they have a great, unreasonable story that sets them apart from other upscale steakhouse brands.
Stunts, promotions, customer service. They all have the ability to be highly memorable. As do charitable donations. My friend and fellow Fletch enthusiast, Jeff Hilimire, began a great event called 48 in 48, which helps build 48 websites for nonprofit organizations in 48 hours, for free! That is totally unreasonable! And totally memorable.
If you haven’t yet considered anything unreasonable, start now. This type of activity should be the most fun part of your job. If you want help thinking of, planning or executing a great unreasonable idea shoot me a note or give me a call. It would be a great and very reasonable reason for us to talk.