How ‘Wing Commander Boris’ shows it pays to be different…

I have just
returned from a little break away in the sun for a few days … the approved
destination for which is usually a small, out of the way place – somewhere
sunny (but without spending too much time on a plane), which for one reason or
another, seems to attract the more ‘interesting’ type of guest…

Now, through what I considered ‘perfectly normal behaviour’, I had already
garnered myself a reputation with the locals as something of an eccentric … a
reputation that meant ‘She Who Must…’ had disowned me completely to go horse
riding or kayaking or whatever took her fancy while I was left in the hotel
grounds with just my book for company…

So, imagine if you will … there I was, covered from head to toe in factor
50+, wearing a long dressing gown, and a hat … sitting under one of those
impressively large sun umbrellas erected under a tree and wondering why people
where smirking at me… (They had obviously never seen a ‘proper Brit’
holidaying in a hot country before…) 😉

Despite all this, I thought the heat may have ‘got’ to me when along came one
of my fellow hotel guests, Boris (a Russian) wearing a genuine flying helmet
and goggles … convinced this was the bizarrest of mirages and I looked around
me to find I was not the only one staring … However despite being the centre
of attention, ‘Wing Commander’ Boris was completely oblivious to it all and
carried on about his business, apparently wandering around like that was the
perfectly normal thing to do…

And so it went on through the week … so much in fact that the popular
lunchtime pastime (among the gentleman guests at least) of ‘observing’ the
remarkable pool aerobics instructor go through her paces had been abandoned in
favour of sitting and just waiting to see what ‘Boris’ would be wearing next
… and I have to say he did not disappoint … Over the next few days I saw
him sporting a variety of splendid military ‘hats’ which frankly put my own
General’s hat to shame. (A rather fetching effort gained by ‘inventive methods’
during a ‘fact finding’ trip overseas a couple of years back…;-) !)

Boris’ full repertoire also included a particularly fine collection of ‘Tank
Commander’ hats with masses of gold braid and built in full face goggles as
well as the ‘piece de resistance’ in the shape of a submarine hat … they were
all different colours and shapes and carried on, right up to the day of my
departure (when the sun was particularly strong) … and I almost delayed my
journey home just to see what Boris would be wearing that day…!

What Boris has proved, of course, is that the way to get noticed is to stand
out from the crowd and make yourself truly memorable … to provide an
association that makes people feel that the ice is already broken, and they
already know you … (what those NLP folks would call an ‘anchor’).

Of course I’m not suggesting you go around dressed as Field Marshall Rommel to
make an impression, but go out of your way make your interactions with people
you meet (whether it’s ‘face-to-face’ or on-line via a video or email) truly

… Be a little different, and always try and emphasise something about
yourself that will help people remember you…

You will know that I have a rather unique appearance which instantly makes me a
bit more recognizable which helps 🙂 and there’s even a picture of me at the
top of this e-mail, which helps to differentiate me from the ‘Try This – it
sells like gangbusters’ six line emails you may get in your inbox once in a
while from others having a go at communicating with their customers.

Think about what you can do to remind your customers of who you are… (as you
are almost certainly not the only person they receive emails from). What are
you doing to make your communication different from theirs? If the answer is
‘not much’ then I would strongly suggest it’s something you give some serious
thought to.

Think carefully when you’re putting together anything from a simple email to a
full on project, how you can inject your own brand or style. And please note
… you don’t need to take a quick trip down to you local Army surplus store
and start sporting the ‘Boris’ look, instead develop something that is part of
you already, and turn it in to something truly memorable…

Until next time,


Tim Lowe

Publisher, Tim’s Business
Lowe Down

Tim Lowe