Remarkability: The Cure for the Common Business

Used under Creative Commons | flikr | akk_rusAs a go about my business of being a customer, I have noticed one very remarkable trait common to most business—a remarkable lack of remarkability. There’s nothing going on there that makes me want to tell other people about them. They’re just, well, so… common. Do you want people to talk about your business? Give them something to talk about!

Webster defines remarkability as “the quality or state of being remarkable.” Although in a strict sense that might be true, I believe that in the noise of modern society remarkability is not a state: it’s an ongoing pursuit. What is remarkable today may not be next year. In business the number one thing we are competing for is the attention of our potential customers. It’s us against every other thing in their life. In order to even make a blip on the radar of our customer’s mind we must stand out.

So what gets people talking?

There are many ways, but here are a few ideas:

Constructive Disruption

Do something out of the ordinary that serves a purpose. Kids love getting mail, right? But do they ever get it from their photographer? Children’s photographer Anna Mayer knows that her relationship with the kids she’s photographing is a key element to capturing that child’s personality. Sometimes kids, particularly those between 2-6, can have a hard time “warming up” even though she is very much a kid person. In order to address this Anna has taken the proactive approach of learning about each child, buying them a personal little gift, and sending it to them in the mail with an invitation to their photo shoot. The kids love it and can’t wait for their shoot!

Need Prediction or The Pleasant Surprise

Be two steps ahead of your customer, offering a solution to a problem they didn’t even know they had. One could write an entire book about how Steve Jobs did this on a grand, product-level scale at Apple, yet need prediction, does not require such a grand scale. More often than not, the best need predictions are small, ergo a pleasant surprise. They are the details that when executed properly elicit a “huh, that was cool” type of response. For instance, last week at my local Village Ace hardware store, I needed to buy a chain for a chainsaw. Homi (yes that’s his real name) not only guided me to what he thought was the correct chain, but he went a step further than expected. Knowing that, unassisted, many people buy the wrong part the first time, he took the initiative to open the package, remove the chain, and lay it side by side with the old one I had along to ensure that I was taking home the right chain. Was that a huge gesture? Is it going to change business as we know it? No, but it was worthy of remark. What’s most remarkable is that this is not an isolated incident in that store.  It’s little things like that that happen at that store all the time that have me singing its praises.

Personal Inclusion

Make people feel like they matter to your business, and bring them into your story whenever possible. A great example of this is Milwaukee’s AJBombers‘ tapping into the local Twitter community. The owner used the social media platform not only to interact with the community and restaurant guests, but in a flagrant act of constructive disruption allowed, no, encouraged people to write their Twitter names in Sharpie on the walls of the restaurant. Among others, you’ll find @brian_mayer in booth 7 as well as on “the bomb.” Even though I don’t get there nearly as often as I’d like, I call booth 7, my booth. He has made us a part of the @AJBombers story.

Want raving fans? Pursue remarkability relentlessly.

  • What are some businesses that you’ve seen that are remarkable and what made them so?
  • What are some other ways to achieve remarkability?

One Reply to “Remarkability: The Cure for the Common Business”

  1. Great blog!

    I was wondering if you’d be interested in sharing your articles with other like-minded ‘customer engagement’ bloggers? If yes, please email me with Loyalty in the subject line. I am building a Loyalty community with bloggers to focus on customer service, engagement, relationship, loyalty, rewards, etc. Would love to have you on-board!

    Thanks,SL

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