First, let me apologize for breaking my once a day blog updates almost immediately. Suffice it to say, last week got away from me completely. I am humbled, and apologetic, and it won’t happen again until the next time it happens.
That said, I wanted to make this post about how to get noticed as a company. More than that, how to be remembered. A lot of people are great at first impressions, and are great with initial meetings, but then quickly fall by the wayside because they simply don’t make enough of an impression.
I think, without doing any serious research on it, that the biggest cause of the supernova-to-nothing phenomenon is a desire to present a certain image, specifically a very business-like one. How many small companies do you see that use weak and deceptive language to feign the impression of being a large, monolithic corporation? The really sad thing is that even the large monolithic corporations have figured out that this is a horrible way to present themselves and have started adding quirks and personality into their walls of generic text.
So how do you combat this urge to be bland? How about some inspiration from some companies that did something different and made it awesome? Here are three companies that aren’t going to be forgotten anytime soon, at least not to the people that matter.
Ben the Bodyguard: A frenchman protecting my iPhone secrets? What? Mon Dieu! Instead of going for a generic Web 2.0 start-up page to promote their iPhone security app, NERD Communications decided to tell a story. A dark, gritty noir story about a french bodyguard walking down the mean streets of a decrepit town while neon sizzled in the night. As you scroll down the page, the bodyguard walks with you extolling the virtues of tight security in a big, scary world.
ServiceSource’s Talking CFO Action Figures: How many business reports do you think top analysts get? 100 a day? 200 a day? From experience attending this years CES as an analyst, I was getting 100+ emails a day with company reports, press releases, and similar junk, and I wasn’t even representing an important or well-known company. C2 Group recognized this, and instead of writing a report for client ServiceSource, they built CFO action figures. That talked. About ServiceSource. I doubt many of those were marked as spam.
OK!Cupid: Who says only nerds love data? Challenging both the concept that people online don’t want to read lengthy articles and the idea that data is boring and useless to most people, the folks at OK!Cupid are THE example of a blog done right. Realizing that they have millions of pieces of information to draw on, OK!Cupids analysts didn’t go the easy route of parsing it out in short, trite, 400 word chunks. Instead, in sporadic intervals, they release what would anywhere but on the internet be called research papers. And it works. The information is always fun, presented exceptionally well, and is great at starting long and often well-thought-out conversations. Especially since OKC doesn’t seem to be the least bit afraid of tackling contentious issues like race and age.
Standing out from the crowd isn’t just important online. It’s absolutely critical. So the next time you’re tempted to bite your tongue and say something like “Company X specializes in delivering mission-critical services centered around shifting paradigms”, stop, look at what you just wrote, slap yourself in the face, and write something awesome. Or at least something that sounds like it came out of a human being.