Marketing the Weird


Frequently Asked Questions are often an organization’s attempt to justify how normal they are and how their service and programs are just like everyone else.  It is an attempt to minimize the weirdness.  These talking points to rationalize our decisions and put them in context.  It allows for buy-in.  Enterprise’s spend hours crafting FAQs and few focus on the organization’s purpose and why their beliefs allow them to take action.

FAQ are the facts that let us justify our decisions.  It confirms what we already believe.  We know in advance that the decision is right or wrong based on our beliefs and where they intersects a cause’s purpose.  If the organization has made a choice that is consistent with its purpose and values then the facts are the supporting details.

Every organizations should embrace their weirdness.  Be the cause that everyone knows because it is authentic and is willing to embrace its eccentric side.  Do not use marketing and messaging to move further to the middle but rather create the dip that separates us from everyone else.

Being normal is equivalent to trying to standout as a blade of grass in the middle of a soccer pitch.  Being weird is about being a flower growing in a field of snow.


Elevator Pitch

Wondering how to perfect an elevator pitch- the brief narrative you would share with colleague to communicate the impact of a social sector organization you support and think they should consider?  Checkout Kickstarter which provides a platform for entrepreneurs to pitch their projects in hope of securing the funding and move from prototype to production.  Short spots that allow those who are passionate about an opportunity to share with potential investors.  Watch a few of these clips and you will get a sense of what works and what flopped.  And you will probably find a project to fund, I know I did. 


 Try searching for images of your enterprise on Google.  What comes up?  Preparing to work with a few different clients I was amazed at how many of these causes did not even have their logo, pictures of programs, facilities, or people associated with the organization in the Google results.  Why not upload a few images that will appear in search engines?

Getting Noticed

I had no idea who the celebrity is in this picture when I took it.  Why then did I feel the need to take a random photograph of a crowd of people taking pictures of somebody?  I encountered a mob of people screaming with delight and yelling a name I did not recognize.  People around me rushed forward.  Paparazzi clicked away.  So I took some photos and figured that I might decode who I had almost met.  The funny thing is that my daughter grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and headed into the crowd to get an autograph.  She had no idea who she was seeking either.

Why do we respond in this manner?  Was it the energy of the crowd?  The thought that somebody famous was just beyond reach?  Curiosity?  The presence of paparazzi?

We later learned that the actors and actresses of the film “Killing Bono” were arriving for the movie’s premiere.  I am not sure if it is coming to the US but they certainly created a stir if you happened to be on Regent Street in London.

How does your enterprise get noticed?  Who does it attract?

TV Time

Have you noticed the extraordinary lengths people will go to to get on TV- even if it is for five seconds.  Our local station does a remote with the weatherman.  Nonprofit organizations rally the troops on a daily basis to show at 5 AM or earlier and perform some mundane activity in the background while the weather report is delivered.  I always wonder what is the return on investment?  Sometimes it feels like the cars that Oprah gave away- everyone remembers Oprah giving away cars, few can recall the make or model of the car.


If your cause is the best kept secret in town, are you creating the secrecy?  I passed a bookstore in the airport last night and wondered what was the point of this marketing campaign.

Is the point to sell a book?  Then what it the title and who is the author?  Is the intention to hook a customer into a frequent buyer program?  Is the concept that creating a veil will encourage a potential buyer to pick-up the book and remove the temporary jacket?

I am not sure what the outcome of this campaign will be but I felt more confused than inspired.  How do you remain certain that your efforts are creating transparent communications?