“People will sit up and take notice of you, if you will sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice. “ – Harry Selfridge
On our televisions, Jeremy Piven portrays the pioneering retailer Harry Selfridge. But even in Selfridge’s day, “brands” faced the fundamental challenge of simply getting people to take notice.
Today, despite the proliferation of media via the Internet and mobility, any brand still has the task of getting noticed as one of the 5,000+ brand impressions people experience every day.
Of course, if you have a product or service that is genuinely cutting through the clutter, reinventing a category and, otherwise changing the world, getting noticed isn’t the problem.
But it’s certainly another matter if your products or services are more in the background, performing dutiful, yet undistinguished, work within an established and aging category.
If that’s the case, getting noticed and appreciated as more than a mere commodity needs to become your brand’s focus, if it is to survive the challenges of today, and be ready to tackle the future.
Increasingly, what gets people to “sit up and take notice” isn’t just the tantalizing lure of the latest technology. It now centers on how people can create greater meaning in their lives through the way they spend their money (as consumers) and time (as employees).
Why is this? Because living in a world in which your day is full of 5000+ brand impressions (among other stimuli) is hard. It quickly becomes empty, shallow and devoid of meaning. When people don’t see the world around them bringing meaning to their doorstep, they start looking for meaning through their thoughts and actions.
So, whereas in earlier times people didn’t really care about the companies they bought from, or ended up working for, they now take notice of those that stand out from the crowd for one specific reason: these brands show they are committed to helping people create more meaning in their lives.
These brands may make the person’s life significantly better (as a consumer or employee), however, not just superficially, but in deep, heartfelt and profound ways. They may be helping to improve society in some way. Or, they may be helping reduce the drain on natural resources.
The trick for brands is to follow Selfridge’s advice: “sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and notice”. This is different from the familiar turf of mission, vision, values and creating shareholder value. This is about bringing new levels of empathy, purpose and emotion to the way your brand is crafted, executed and experienced.