“I was so inspired by all the fun examples you shared, but I work for accountants and we could never do anything like that.”
So said the woman who came up to me after my recent speech about inspiration at the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. The speech highlighted the ways in which businesses can transform everyday customer interactions into inspirational, engaging encounters. And as part of that, I shared dozens of examples from around the world…businesses using everything from tip jar signs to colorful portable toilets in order to make memories for customers.
My inspired-but-dejected accountant friend scooted away too quickly for me to show her a different point of view. I mean…she hugged me, so she wasn’t THAT dejected. But there was clearly a boundary in her mind: other businesses like hotels and restaurants can have fun…accountants cannot.
Every scrap of my marketing DNA rebelled against that philosophy. So in my mind on the drive home, I reviewed all the examples I shared in the speech, and this one leaped out… the hours of operation sign at Hot Dog Tommy’s in Cape May, NJ:
Wouldn’t it be marvelous for an accounting firm to have office hours from 8:57am to 5:02pm, with the tag line “we’re accountants…we’re precise?”
Their hours and that tag line could be shared in their email signatures, on their website, business cards, advertisements, and more.
And what does that get them? A conversation starter. A point of difference. A personality. A smile from a potential customer.
A way to be memorable.
And doesn’t EVERY business want to be memorable to its audiences? Even you, accountants. You want people to think of you over OTHER accountants. So…without that tag line, your business card is ordinary. With it? You make an impression.
Any business can use nearly ANY touch point to make customers care about them. No business has to be boring…that’s a choice you make, and you can simply choose to be interesting. You just have to do it with care and thought to what makes sense for your brand and industry. Accountants with hyper-precise hours? YES. Accountants with colorful portable toilets in the reception area? Well…that will certainly make you memorable, but perhaps not in the way you want.
PS: In 90 seconds, see how I prepared for this speech, and I’d be the biggest hypocrite in the world if this video were boring. Watch here.