I was watching TV the other day and a commercial came on for Jolly Rancher Pop Tarts; at least that’s what I think it was. I’m not really sure and I’ll tell you why. It’s the one where three happy-go-lucky Pop Tart “people” jump into a bowl of Jolly Rancher candies. The first one pops up and yells a flavor, the second does the same, but then a lizard pops up holding the bottom quarter of what’s left of the third one. Basically, the lizard ate the Pop Tart “person”. Now here’s the thing; that lizard is holding up a piece of the third Pop Tart “person”….which has a leg dangling from it…AND IT’S TWITCHING! See for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYUFDZjLEu8.
Of course, that’s not the only time you will see inanimate objects given human characteristics (mostly geared towards children). Krave cereal; where little squares with monster like teeth chase pieces of chocolate as they run away screaming as parts of them are being bitten off. Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal where they basically eat each other. What message are these commercials sending? Violence? Cannibalism? And let’s not forget all the commercials geared towards adults. They try to convince us that people buy luxury cars as Christmas presents all the time, only beauty and youth matter, or that the slightest malady deserves a pill despite the side effects of night terrors, depression or various leakage. I know that’s all advertising and the rules, if there are any, are different when trying to convince someone to buy a product. Sometimes the message conveyed in a commercial or marketing piece can be funny, sometimes they can be moving and sometimes you just scratch your head and ask yourself what in the world is going on.
I guess these are successful in one regard. While I never bought the products, I remember them. If you stop and think about it though, we all send messages every day. How we act, what we say, how we do our job, says something about ourselves to anyone watching or with whom we are interacting. It also affords you the opportunity to be remembered. Whether that’s good or bad is entirely up to you. Do you say good morning to people or just grunt? Do you smile and make eye contact or look away? If you’re providing a service do you say things like,“my pleasure”? Do you make people feel appreciated or that they are a burden? There are number of examples I can give, but you get the point. It all comes down to what experience you are creating for the other person; what message you’re sending. You can be the absolute best at what you do, but if your demeanor is contrary to making someone feel valued in the time you spend with them, the experience will not be memorable. Oh, they’ll remember the transaction or the loan, but they won’t remember you; they won’t remember us.
In a world of sensory overload, where choices are abundant; we are the differentiator. We can make a mundane task memorable, we can make a member feel welcome, we can make a coworker feel appreciated, we can make people feel like they matter. The simplest word, subtlest nuance, slightest effort, smallest gesture, can make a huge difference and have a positive impact which, very likely, will be returned to you in kind.
“Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I’ve found. I found that it is the small things, every day deeds by ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay” — Gandalf.