When the news cycle sounds cacophonous, it can seem almost impossible to make your voice heard above the din. How will you ever capture the attention of the frenzied public with quality information about your product, your services, your new book, your business?
Even if you cannot afford a big team of advertisers and publicists to help you out, there’s hope. Human nature itself is your secret weapon. Our ancestors developed the ability to differentiate between thousands, some say millions, shades of green. Look at a forest and notice how many shades you can see. Now, imagine one of them is bearing fruit, maybe a bright red apple or a cluster of yellow bananas. Your eye will zero in on the dissonant color. That’s how our species managed to survive: finding what it needs amid the mass of green. People still need what you’re offering. You just need to get them to see it.
The people who need to “eat” your message are attracted when you are a different color than the background noise. You need to change the “color” of your messaging to attract the attention of the people who need it. When the news cycle is negative, you need to become the bright spot that gets noticed.
It’s not easy being green. Being green is doing things the textbook way, making sure you post something on social media every day, sending out rote press releases, repeating the same message even if it is no longer producing results.
In order to “be the banana,” you’ll have to come up with something fresh, unique, different and outstanding. Something that catches the eyes of your potential customers and gives them what they long for: respite, nourishment, relief from the endless green.
Consider really going out on a limb. Here are a few ideas:
- Introduce a playful, socially distanced contest that allows your customers to compete from home. “Send in your funniest pet video and we’ll post it on our site.” Nothing to do with your business, perhaps, but it’s still a bright red apple.
- Offer a clever sale tied to some social improvement, like “donate a packaged, new mask into our charity box to get $5 off your next purchase.”
- Come up with a fun way to remind your customers that the news cloud has a silver lining, like setting up a whiteboard and inviting them to write a positive message on it — and monitor it for the inevitable stupid comment of some teenage boy!
- Host a virtual “comedy night” for your customers and prospects and bring in a clean comic. Record it and put it on your website and/or on YouTube with your logo. Perhaps you can emcee. You’ll earn the right to talk about your company or your brand message.
- Lead or at least get involved in a local drive to help someone or some cause, like finding a home for a needy family or helping animals living in the park. Alert the media and bask in the results.
- Take a stand — a bold stand — on some important, politically neutral challenge in your live or online community, like homelessness or cyberbullying. Let people know and let people join you in your cause.
- Jump on the news by offering yourself to local journalists (or journalists in your niche if online) when a story comes out that touches on your expertise. Literally, call them and pitch them on your take.
- Invite your customers and their friends to volunteer with you to rebuild a home that has been burned, or to provide 100 hot meals for families suffering, or donate teddy bears to children who are in the local oncology unity.
- Offer “scholarships” to elementary school students who get all A’s and thus earn $X off on one of your products. Promote the fact on your site, in your communications and to the media.
When the world is full of noise and chaos, the old adage to “do well by doing good” has never been more true. Don’t feel shy about proclaiming your good deeds! As long as you engage some mix of customers, prospects and staff, and you actively invite others to get involved, you are evidencing leadership while promoting your business — online or physical.
You are turning yourself into a voice for good, not some attention-seeking small business owner. Once you realize the long term goodwill and the potential impact such deeds will have, you’ll see your list of grateful customers grow — and watch your competition turn green with envy.