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Quirkology: How to Be Brandtastic by Embracing Your - Word Chef

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Quirkology: How to Be Brandtastic by
Embracing Your Weirder Bits
A Collection of Essays by the World-Famous Word Carnival Bloggers
[All copyrights retained by the authors]
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
It’s the Quirks That Make You Irresistible:
Three Case Studies In Quirkology
By Annie Sisk/Stage Presence Marketing
Annie Comes Out of the Closet and Shows Her Quirks
You want quirky? You have so come to the right place. I’m about to come out of the closet here,
in a sense.
::::deep breath:::::
I freely and gladly own up to all of the following quirks:
1. I love submarine movies. I’ll see your The Hunt for Red October and raise you Crimson
Tide, K-19, Das Boot, and U-571. I don’t care what the plot is. You place the majority of
the action on a sub and I’m watching. Probably more than twice.
2. I am pathologically curious. I can’t just read Smilla’s Sense of Snow. I read it, then
I dive down the rabbit hole and have to go learn more about Greenland, about snow,
about Inuits, about Copenhagen … and before I know it, it’s five days later and Google is
pleading with me to take a freakin’ break already.
3. I went to law school. Graduated and everything. Basically, because I couldn’t figure out
what I really wanted to do and figured it would give me another three years to find out. (I
don’t recommend this approach.)
4. I have a very strange type of ESP. I can tell that a particular song is coming on the
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
radio within the next ten minutes. The song can be anything, from any time period, and it
doesn’t always work, but more often than would be attributable to mere chance, when I
hear a song in my head, I can find it on the radio within a few minutes.
5. I love spoilers. Spoilers do not spoil the show, movie, or book for me, ever.
(See: “pathologically curious,” above.)
6. I hate flavored crap in my coffee, but I always shake a little cinnamon in my
morning French roast. Those “hazelnut cinnamon creamers with a shot of pecan syrup”
drinks? I derisively call �em “circus coffee” and usually then whistle a few bars of this.
7. I’m a space geek. I freaking love the NASA twitter feeds.
8. I’ve seen every episode of Star Trek, the original, at least four times. This may or
may not be related to #7 above. Or it might be because …
9. I have a deep, decades-long love for Leonard Nimoy.
10. Also Alice Cooper. Yes. That guy.
There you have it. Ten of my biggest quirks, laid bare for all the world to see.
Why Quirks Matter So Much
Erika Napoletano�s been making waves on the web – well, for awhile now. But most recently,
Erika’s new book The Power of Unpopular has been at the center of the hullabaloo. (Hullabaloo.
Isn’t that an awesome word? We totally need to use it more.)
This book, which you should totally go buy right this instant (not an affiliate link – that’s how
much I love it), has as its central thesis that in order to succeed at business, not only can you
not appeal to “Everybody,” but you shouldn’t even try because that’s the kiss of death. Rather,
the book suggests, embrace your oddities — your quirks, if you will — and narrow your focus to
those folks who are by nature sympatico with those quirks.
That you should, as the book’s official site suggests, “get your black sheep on.”
Erika herself is probably the most compelling evidence that this approach works like
gangbusters. Wherever she writes — at her own site, in the book, at Forbes — she very clearly
communicates a persona that is definitely not everybody’s cup of dark French roast. And that?
Is totally OK.
Not only is it totally OK – it’s preferable. Erika is crazy popular — with the right peeps. Her right
Because the more you embrace and communicate who you are,
the more appealing you will be to your natural good-fit tribe –
that is, the folks you’re truly best suited to serve.
To explore this concept further, let’s look at three real-live case studies …
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Quirkology Case Study #1: Maxwell House and the Anti-Press-Pot
Have you seen this commercial?
That actor – the “not in my house!” guy – is Todd Stashwick, whom I’ve adored since I saw him
in The Riches and the “Monster Movie” episode ofSupernatural.
But when I saw this commercial, I hated Todd Stashwick.
I was offended by Todd Stashwick.
Y’all, I wanted to kick Todd Stashwick’s ass.
Why? To understand this, you gotta refer back up to Annie Quirk #6: “I hate flavored crap in
my coffee, but I always shake a little cinnamon in my morning French roast.”
What does that quirk tell you, as a marketer? It should tell you I take my coffee seriously, yo. In
point of fact, I use a press pot, and my drip coffee maker sits neglected in the back of a corner
�Cause here’s the thing that Maxwell House and its ad peeps understand:people who use
press pots and Take Their Coffee Seriously will NEVER USE MAXWELL HOUSE.
They won’t use any pre-ground coffee because the grind is always too fine to work in a press
pot which requires a much coarser grind.
Predictably, press pot lovers? Whoa Nelly. They were not happy with this ad. Witness this post
and the comments after it from “CoffeeNate.”
Maxwell House is very smartly capitalizing on the divide between the press pot peeps and the
anti-press-pot peeps. The latter doesn’t just prefer a drip coffee maker. In all probability, they
don’t give much thought to their coffee at all. But they do react negatively to press pots, viewing
them as MH’s “Ted” (Stashwick) does – a symbol of snooty pretension.
This — the attitude that press pots are pretentious — is a quirk ofpsychographics that results in
a quirk of habit.
Instead of placating both groups and trying to convince the press pot peeps that Maxwell House
is a good choice in some circumstances, MH went the opposite way and embraced the quirks.
Not only embraced them — celebrated them. Made them BIGGER. MORE divisive.
Take another look at the comments to that CoffeeNate post. Look also at the comments under
the YouTube video link. What do you see?
Emotion. Raw, amped-up emotion. The anti-press-pot peeps feel strongly about the pretentious
asshats and their snooty plunger coffee. The pro-press-pot peeps are livid about the ridiculous
assertion that they’re somehow inferior for their choice, which actually predates automatic drip
makers by many years.
Yes, they’ve thoroughly pissed off a whole segment of the population – the pro-press-pot peeps.
But they weren’t ever gonna buy Maxwell House anyway!
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Look at what they’ve simultaneously done for the anti-press-pot crew, though. It’s the
advertising equivalent of a standing ovation! Those folks feel GOOD about themselves after
watching this ad!
The lesson here?
Embrace the quirks and you’ll connect on a positive
and deeply emotional level with your targets.
And that sells more coffee.
Or whatever.
Quirkology Case Study #2: Help My Awful Website and the Anti-LifeCoach Crowd
Here’s another example that hit a little closer to home for me recently.
Nick Armstrong and I recently soft-launched a new venture called Help My Awful Website. I’ll
give you a minute to go check out that page.
:::Annie pours another cup from the press pot:::
OK, back? All righty, then.
I shared that link with a friend recently. This is a woman who’s extremely well-known in her field,
who works with a lot of life coaches. Life coaches are her peeps. She speaks their language.
They speak hers. Whatever. She gets them. She had them at “Hello, world!”
I respect the hell out of this friend. She’s someone worthy of respect, basically, so her opinion
does matter to me.
So, when she hemmed and hawed after I asked her what she thought about HMAW, my heart
It’s … kind of angry, she said.
That picture of the woman and man yelling at each other, she mused.
And the “awful” thing … I just don’t know, she sighed.
But, but, but … I sputtered. The copy! It’s funny. We’re not really calling anyone’s site “awful.”
Did you read the copy?
Uh, yes. Of course she did.
She just didn’t like it.
Well, if that won’t knock the wind out of your sails …
That’s when it hit me — my friend’s peeps are not the HMAW peeps.
Life coaches are much more likely to embrace a more touchy-feely, warm-and-fuzzy, strictlypositive persona than … well, what Nick and I are like. See, Nick and I have a lot in common.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
We’re both Star Trek nuts. We both have a tendency towards spicy language on occasion.
We’re both dry wits. We tend towards sass, more than class. That feeds into our joint venture —
it has to, when you’re talking about marketing a service.
And while a crap-ton of folks from all sorts of industries and professions might be interested in
our service — professional, expert reviews of business websites from both the male and female
POV — our service is not meant for folks from all industries and professions.
The people who’ll get turned off by a word like “awful” and that picture of the woman and man
yelling at each other are not our targets. Our targets are folks who respond positively to our
sassy, slightly sarcastic (but never mean or unkind) style.
That’s an example of marketing to a quirk of psychographics as opposed to the quirk of
habit as in the Maxwell House example.
The lesson here?
Aim your offerings not only at a certain demographic
but at a defined psychographic if you want to work
only with people who respond positively to your personality and personal style.
Quirkology Case Study #3: Trauma Dolls and the Anti-AntiPrescription-Pain-Meds Crowd
OK, one last case study in quirkology marketing before we call this post done, and again it’s a
personal one for me: my chronic pain website Trauma Dolls.
About a month back, a friend of mine who’s a certain kind of coach, appealing very much to
the New Age crowd, was asking me if I had any recommendations for websites that might be a
good guest-posting opportunity for her.
Immediately, I thought of Trauma Dolls. But I wasn’t too sure. There was some nexus there
– folks in chronic pain often are open-minded about new and alternative therapies, and so I
decided to go ahead and share the link with her.
In sharing it, though, as I realized later, I didn’t quite make it clear that the site was mine.
So, she took a look, and came back to the conversation with a very strange impression, in my
view. She said it turned her off – she mentioned “the language of victimization” – she mentioned
an image of a broken doll – she mentioned the first line of the most recent post at that time,
which started off “I’m about to make you very angry” – why would anyone want to be angry?
I was stunned. Anyone who’s read that site for any length of time knows victimization is exactly
the opposite of what it’s about. That broken doll image? Had a caption reading “Put yourself
back together.” That “angry” post? Was about two women who had DIED because their pain
wasn’t taken seriously – anger was appropriate!
So, I gathered my courage, and wrote to her. And as I was composing my response to these
points, something odd happened.
I laughed.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Because suddenly I got it.
My New Age, crystal-loving coach friend was so not my targeted peep for Trauma Dolls.
And it sounds odd, but I’d never really considered the question before of “what, exactly, are
the psychographics for the Trauma Doll site?” It never came up because Trauma Dolls isn’t
a money-making venture for me. It has nothing to do with business. Ergo, marketing the site
wasn’t ever really a concern for me, so I never thought about the site in those terms.
But even so, psychographics and quirks are at play. Who reads Trauma Dolls? Anyone who
has a chronic pain condition and gets one of the articles on that site in the Google SERPs.
Anyone who gets a link forwarded from a concerned friend or family member.
But who comes back to read Trauma Dolls over and over? That’s a very different question, and
a very different answer.
Once I finally started asking this question and doing a little digging around, I found out that the
TD readers do, indeed, fit a particular psychographic profile: they’re the chronic pain patients
who have felt marginalized and discounted by the medical profession, who do not embrace the
alternative medicine field and completely reject the whole “traditional medicine” field, especially
the prospect of prescription pain meds. They’re the chronically pained peeps who aren’t afraid
to get angry, who use their anger to lobby and educate and push for reforms in the way the
medical profession treats us, and the legal profession and justice system treat the medical
They are the opposite of the crystal lovers.
That’s not to say the crystal lovers are bad, or silly, or wrong. They’re just not TD peeps.
And that? Is more than OK. It’s awesome. Because now I know that, I can let that knowledge
infuse future content and website revisions. I can more carefully target the right peeps with the
right quirks. (“Right” not in the sense that anyone else is wrong - right as in “the right fit.”)
The lesson here?
Even a bad review from someone who’s completely outside
your targeted readership can help you tremendously
by drawing clearer boundaries around the folks
who are your targets.
Takeaways on Quirkology Marketing
So what can you take away from this post in marketing your own small biz on the web?
1. Know your quirks. List �em out, just like I did. Get comfy with them. Own them.
2. Figure out your business’s quirk zone. That is, understand where the nexus lies
between your quirks and your targeted market’s quirks. That nexus — those points of
connection, the quirks you share — this is the stuff you need to infuse throughout all your
marketing content and across all your digital channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, your
blog, everywhere).
3. Don’t be afraid to take a stand. You don’t have to be confrontational or mock those
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
who lie outside the quirk zone the way Maxwell House did, but have the courage to state
a controversial opinion and back it up from time to time. That kind of content speaks to
your targets on a deep emotional level, and that’s the level you need to connect at if you
want to convert casual readers into fervent fans.
How do you embrace your own quirks in your marketing? Are you still confounded by the whole
prospect, or a little fearful of letting go of or, worse, offending a subset of your potential market?
Share your answers in the comments!
About Annie Sisk
Because she is essentially lazy by nature, Annie’s learned how to do more crap before noon than most of those folks
in the snazzy corner offices do all week. And yes, she does it in jammies (actually, yoga pants and t-shirts, but since
she often sleeps in yoga pants and t-shirts, it totally counts). Annie offers her “getting your crap done” skills to a small
number of coaching clients every month, and offers one free half-hour session to all new clients, so you can see if
she’s a good fit for you. She’s also a WordPress website developer and marketing consultant at Stage Presence
Marketing. Annie lives in the North Carolina mountains with her daughter, as well as the (possibly imaginary, but don’t
tell them that) llamas who make up her support staff.
Coming Out:
Embracing Your Quirks Can Help Your Business
by evan austin
This month, Word Carnival carnies are exploring our own freakiness
and how we use it to build stronger brands – and how you can do the
same! As soon as we’d chosen the theme, I knew exactly what I
wanted to share…the “tell me something I don’t know about you”
quirk that affects my life every day and in dozens of ways, that’s the
hardest to share and yet wants to leap out and be known at
opportunities like this:
I am a colorblind artist.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Ok, that’s the shock-value version of the statement…the one that’s not really fair to either you or
me, and yet is strangely the easiest for most people to “get” because it’s oversimplified and puts
me into tidy boxes. You probably know someone who’s “colorblind”…up to 1 in 10 Caucasian
males are. I know which questions come next: “How do you DRIVE?” and “You know your shirt
is pink, right?” It can be tiring, but not offensive.
The REAL story is that I have a color vision difference in which some of the retinal cones
that perceive colors in the green-yellow-red portion of the light spectrum are faulty; this can
be called daltonism (after English chemist John Dalton), deuteranopia, or the more detailed
but still misleading “red-green colorblind”. It is true that for me certain shades of green can
be indistinguishable from brown or yellow, that some reds can look brown, and pink can look
gray. Violet, lavender, purple, and blue can all seem quite similar to me as well, since the red
wavelengths are weak or stripped out. Real live rainbows have only two stripes for me: blue and
yellow. It’s also a little indirect to say I’m an “artist”, since the potential image or association of
me trying to mix paints, for example, wouldn’t be accurate. As a graphic designer, I’m fortunate
to have digital tools to help me sort out colors. I’ll get to those.
How Do My Quirks Help Me?
I’ve known that my color vision is different since I was very young. It’s genetic; my maternal
grandfather was kept from flying military aircraft because of it, so my mother had me tested very
early. (Each of the few times I’ve seen a new eye doctor, the test is always standard because of
my gender, and each time they try to break it to me gently, as if I have a disease. This amuses
me, and relieves them when I share that I already “know”.) Because I have never been able to
trust exactly what my eyes are telling me, I have other strategies for figuring out what’s what,
and they actually make me a BETTER designer:
в—Џ Purple is usually DARKER than blue. I have to know and notice qualities beyond the
obvious or the easy-to-take-for-granted. That way of thinking helps me identify colors
even when I can’t actually see them the same way you do, AND helps me problem
solve more generally by approaching from various angles and paying attention to the
relationships between things rather than relying on a given thing alone.
в—Џ A green tiger? How DARING! I once painted a picture of a tiger, taking unusual effort
to be detailed and accurate, only to be praised for my maverick use of green when I’d
really just meant to use true-to-life orange. At that time, I was crushed, but what the
experience freed me to do is not be so attached to the “proper” or “normal” colors of
things, and be a little more experimental. Fortunately the Universe seems to favor happy
accidents over catastrophes, and that’s how I found out that brown and pink actually look
good together.
в—Џ Art imitates life. No need to reinvent the (color) wheel: if I need a design element, I
find it and photograph it, and then I can sample from it. This works for capturing colors,
textures, patterns, and more. For me, this is faster and more efficient than trying to
conjure colors out of my imagination and digitally mix them up. From a philosophical
standpoint, it also brings an element of life into the design, which is attractive to me.
What If I Need Help?
I do, first of all. I do need help. Fortunately, as I mentioned earlier, I have resources for getting
the information I need. My top 3 are:
The Color Detector app by Mobialia uses my Android smartphone’s camera to identify
colors within a very small focal area on the screen. When I have the color I want within
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
that area and click, Color Detector gives me HTML, RGB, and CSV codes for the
nearest color in its vast library. It even shows the color’s name (and will speak it out
loud if enabled!). Since it’s using a camera, the quality and quantity of light affect the
accuracy of the read, and the flash sometimes just washes out the area so that it reads
white, but this tool is great for capturing reference points and getting me close.
The Rainbow Color Tools add-on for Firefox, by Heather Arthur, is an amazing tool
that any digital artist or web designer can appreciate, regardless of how their retinal
cones are installed. This tool has a standard full-spectrum color picker, a Library feature
that lets you save and build a library of favorite or often used colors, and even a site
analyzer tool that’ll instantly collect and display the palette of colors used on the website
you’re on when you activate it. The feature I use most often, however, is the Inspector:
it puts a box next to my cursor that analyzes each pixel I touch, showing me the hex
code for that color (hex is an HTML color system…for example, black is #000000). For
grabbing colors from photographs, Photoshop will also show me individual pixels and
various ways of expressing them digitally.
Asking a human is much more subjective, but the emotional/relational feedback is
priceless. Female ones are best (99.5% have perfect color vision), so my wife gets
the occasional oversight request from me. My other resource is the client themselves.
In general I like to approach design projects in a collaborative energy anyway, so as
a natural extension of that I like for my clients to be in the “art director” role some of
the time. After all, it’s THEIR identity we’re playing with, and there are SO many more
variables to consider than simply “Is this the right color?”. In a color-choosing session,
I’m working overtime to notice relationships between colors, note precisely the codes
for which colors we like, consider what objects in the real world have similar colors or
properties that we might be able to photograph, etc. It’s a chore, to be quite honest, and
if I haven’t openly divulged my color vision difference, it carries the constant anxiety
of being “found out”. I think this post is part of my journey into sharing that detail more
openly AND trusting my tools and problem-solving skills enough to let go some of that
anxiety when I haven’t shared.
That’s all well and good, but what about YOUR quirks?
Consider this a case study in how to re-approach and re-frame your more unique traits
into something that works FOR you. As a small business owner, YOU are deeply a part of
your business, so even something like being right-handed but left-footed is a quirk you can
use. Analyze how that shapes your decision-making or skill diversity. Draw attention to the
experiences you’ve had as a result of your quirks, and the tools you employ to reinforce
or counter-balance them. You and your quirks are beautiful, and they are precisely what
highlight you from the crowd. Come out and own them, because after all, The world needs your
evan austin wakes up early, takes care of his 3 kids, and goes to bed late. Somewhere in
between, he does graphic design and social media management out of his home in
Southern California. He loves designing logos, business cards, Facebook Cover Photos,
and such, as well as being called a dork by his wife whenever he identifies a font on a sign
or poster.
Also, there are approximately one million bajillion articles about “color blindness”, many of which are
great. The Wikipedia entry on “Color blindness” is quite good as a starting point if you want to know more
on the technical end.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Hack Your Marketing: Turn Tiny Details Into Big Results
By Tapping Into This One Overlooked, Underused And
Uniquely Quirky Resource
by Carol Lynn Rivera
That's right, I'm not even going to keep you in suspense. No long introductions with back-door
explanations. I want you to know right up front that if you want to rock your marketing then
you've got to tap into the power of that uniquely quirky thing called personality.
With a lot of talk about "personal branding" you may think this is that.
It's not.
What I'm talking about is much simpler and much more powerful. Your personality. Your client's.
Your prospect's. That total stranger's, who is neither client nor prospect but could be if you only
knew how to ignite the spark.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
"Pshaw!" You may be thinking. "That's nice touchy-feely new-age-y talk, but what's the ROI?
Where are the clicks? How many page views does that get?"
If you don't believe me, I'm going to show you how the power of personality can contribute to the
success… nay, the triumph...! of your business. The best part? Personality is free, it's abundant
and it's easy to use if you know how.
The Back-Door Explanation
If you're still reading it means you’re ready to take your marketing from 'ok', 'good', maybe
even 'pretty good' to fan-stinkin-tastic.
But let me ask you a few questions first.
Do you have a Facebook page, Twitter account, Pinterest board or some other presence on
social networks?
Do you send out email newsletters, offers, updates or other communications?
Have you printed business cards, brochures, flyers, postcards, mailers or any other collateral
Do you blog, publish ebooks, send out press releases, take interviews or otherwise get your
name out there?
Do you conduct webinars, seminars or speak at events or trade shows?
Do you have a website? (Does it have an "About" page… and is it any good?)
If you're engaged in any marketing at all then you've said "yes" to at least one, most likely
several and quite possibly all of those.
Do you have any idea how much marketing noise is out there? I know I don't have to tell you.
Every time you open your inbox, check your mailbox, turn on your TV, play Angry Birds or
browse online you're bombarded with marketing and advertising messages.
As marketers and business people, the challenge is no longer "how to get the message out
there". There are a batrizillion ways to do that. The challenge is "how do you get noticed in all
the noise?"
Bet you can guess what I'm going to say… personality.
Personality Is Not The Same As Personal Branding, Transparency
Or "Voice"
In a social marketing world, we're often told to be the "face" of our company. We're told to be
honest and transparent. Available and engaged.
All good advice but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking very literally about what makes
you you. All the weird, wonderful, obscure things that you may or may not tell people about
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
yourself. And all the weird, wonderful and obscure things we may or may not learn about others.
That you salt your watermelon.
That you secretly play 'Magic The Gathering' with your teenage son and his geek friends on
Saturday nights.
That you love anything and everything written by Ayn Rand (now that would be weird!)
Everything that makes you quirky, eccentric, unique, interesting, quite possibly eyebrow-raising
and memorable to others - that's your personality.
What This Has To Do With Your Marketing
I'm going to repeat something that I've said before and many, many people have said before me
– and you are welcome to beat me over the head with the obvious stick but it bears repeating:
people do business with people they like.
This is not a revelation. For years to come, marketers will be spouting the same clichГ©.
Fortunately, that doesn’t make it any less true.
Unfortunately, not only do we ignore it because it's so often repeated, but I also think we tend to
forget it as we strive to be "faces" and "voices" in this brave new world of online engagement.
Here's what this has to do with your marketing: everything.
In a noisy marketing-filled world the only hope that you have of succeeding in business is
getting noticed and staying noticed. Your products may be great. Your services may be superb.
Your attention to detail may be unmatched, your customer service flawless. Anyone can
compete with you on those points, but nobody can compete with you on being you.
That's the power we're going to explore right now.
Step 1: Know Yourself
You have no idea how many people tell me, "I'm not that interesting."
Confessions all around: there are times when I feel "not that interesting", too. But that's
because we're used to the routine of our lives and lots of times we're not doing anything all that
interesting! We work, we go to the gym, we have dinner with our families, we sleep. Not exactly
a nail-biter of a day, is it?
But routine is not who you are. When people insist they're not that interesting it's because what
they're really thinking is, "I'm not doing anything interesting right now."
Instead of getting mired in the moment, I want you to think about what things define you as a
What do you love? What gets your creative juices flowing? What lights up your eyes? What little
behavioral eccentricities do your best friends always (so helpfully) point out? What things do you
keep in the back of your mind or your closet because they don't pertain to your daily activities…
I'll give you an example from my end so hopefully the gears will start spinning on yours.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
This zombie didn't get very far once I got a hold of him.
Do you know what I love to do at the end of a tough day or first thing on a relaxing Saturday
morning? I love to get myself to the pistol range and unload the clip of a 40-caliber Walther PPQ
into the head of a zombie.
A general survey of my friends and acquaintances puts that in the "kinda weird" column.
When I'm frustrated I dump a bag of chocolate chips into a jar of peanut butter and spoon it all
into my mouth.
Whenever I get any kind of emotional the retro Italian in me comes out and I talk louder and
louder and gesture wider and wider. Many times that's accompanied by something getting
Are you getting it? You may not know much about me but if I asked you in a week to recall what
you do know, I bet one of those little quirky things will come to mind!
You may wonder why this matters to marketing. It matters because by telling you that I have a
penchant for pistols and zombies, I've become memorable. I've become more than that girl who
blogs and does creative something or other.
By telling you that I may have opened a door for you to share your own secret zombie
By telling you that I've elevated marketing to sharing – and in doing so I'm building a relationship
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
with you, one quirky bit at a time.
And I didn't have to dig very far to do it. I simply pulled the rug of everyday predictability out
from under you, lit the spark, baited the hook – and did it just by being myself.
Take this moment right now to think about what quirky things define you. Celebrate the
weirdness and uniqueness that you bring to the world. Be the biggest, boldest you that you
can be. Use your personality to create the top-of-mind awareness with your prospects and
customers that other (less smart) marketers fall all over themselves trying to do with daily
bombardments of emails, Facebook posts, coupons and postcards.
Next time someone insists you need a USP or asks you about your mission statement, zonk
them on the head with your favorite twirling baton and tell them you were a Color Guard champ
in the 6th grade, so take that and stick it in your USP.
Step 2: Get To Know Others
Knowing and embracing your own coolness is only half the story. Remember, we're building
relationships, which means there's another person involved.
One of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal is your ability to ferret out and mentally
index the quirkiness of others.
It's a fact of psychology that the people we like the best are the ones who make us feel best
about ourselves. We may admire or respect a super cool or brilliant person but if she makes us
feel stupid and crummy, we aren't going to like her all that much.
If you can help others like themselves they're going to transfer all that liking to you. More liking =
more doing business with. A win-win all around.
So how do you do that? The same way you've explored and identified your own unique
fabulousness, you need to do the same for others. By revealing part of yourself, you may find
a shared connection. The day a prospect says to me, "No way, I totally love zombies! I already
planned for the apocalypse and everything…" is the day I bet you I win a customer for life.
I have, in fact, closed several business deals over shared quirks, from dessert choices to
automobile pet peeves to cigars. And no, it's not the thing itself but the connection I made and
the relationship I built with the other person. The "thing" was just a catalyst. It was the thing that
made someone remember me when every other service provider was making similar promises
and offering similar deals.
But even if you don't share a quirk with someone, you can still make this work for you. Simply
find out what makes your customer or prospect unique. It may take a little digging but imagine
how powerful it could be if your prospect confesses to having a secret collection of trilobite
fossils and you just happen to come across one on your trip to the museum this weekend (and
send it as a thank-you-for-meeting-with-me gift)?
…if your prospect states a love for all things Harley Davidson and you send a link to your
favorite similarly themed Pinterest board?
…if your prospect is a red wine connoisseur and you ask for her advice on the best bottle for
your next dinner party?
Not only does this create a connection but it shows that you're actually interested in someone
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
beyond their ability to line your pockets.
And here's another perk: it can be tough to remember the names of your prospect's three kids,
where he went to college or how he chose his career direction (all most excellent things to know
and capitalize on!) But it's a whole lot easier to remember that he loves Scooby Doo so much
that he has that famous cartoon character tattooed in the middle of his back.
Don't Take It From Me. Try It.
Personality is free. It's always there, waiting for you to tap into it and use it to your advantage.
You don't need any special skills – except perhaps the power of observation and some
conversational ability. There are no requirements or "best practices". The only rule is: be
And best of all, this is an opportunity that only you have. Nobody else in the world can compete
with you on you. Nobody else can use what you know, feel and do.
In the moment when you share a bit of quirk with another person, you're both hooked. And
when it comes to marketing, that moment is all you need to create a connection.
If you haven't thought of at least one thing about yourself that you can use or one way to
capitalize on what you know about someone else then you've got homework!
Start right now: tell me about one of your quirks or eccentricities and get me hooked!
Carol Lynn is the Editor-in-Chief and author of Web.Search.Social, a blog
dedicated to educating small businesses about... you guessed it... web,
search and social marketing. She is also the owner and project manager at
Rahvalor Interactive, a creative marketing company based in Holmdel, New
Jersey. With both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in education, she
started her career teaching kids the ABCs and worked her way into teaching
adults the ABCs… of marketing. When she’s not obsessively rearranging
nouns and verbs, she spends her days lining up Action Items and keeping the rest of the
Rahvalor team on track. On any given day she will be responsible for building websites, writing
for blogs, managing clients’ social media accounts, making sandwiches, meeting with
prospects, providing TLC for clients and dealing with one of the cats that will inevitably crawl up
on someone’s keyboard to nap.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Art, Craft, and Commodity – Quirks Create the Business
by Nick Armstrong
Post-Publishing Note: I fully admit, I wrote this post at 2AM. I also fully admit, after losing a
few subscribers and re-reading the post, that I sound like a smug, overly-confident jackass.
To clarify: anyone who can embrace their unique quirks is capable of being the only
one on earth capable of doing what they do, in the way they do it. Make no mistake, I
unappologetically kick-ass at marketing small businesses, but I have no illusions about being
the best in the world. Aspirations, yes. Illusions, no. That said, on with the show…
Artists make art for the sake of art. No care or consideration at all to if the audience will come,
just blind faith that an audience will come.
Craftspeople make art in exchange for money. They love the art, but either arecommissioned
to create it or seek out an audience to buy their art.
Assembly Workers make commodities in exchange for money. There’s no art in what they do
– just a cold buildout of individual components, piece by piece, in line with a pre-arranged plan.
The E-Myth style of systemization only works for assembly workers. Quirks are the things that
make Art and Craft so artsy and craftsy. The very thing that grinds the gears of the business
crowd, the thing that forces artists to create outside of the systemic, and craftspeople to seek
out new venues and audiences is the thing that prevents them from being assembly workers.
The fact that I’m a swaggering, Klingon-swearing, Picard-quoting, Prime Directive spouting
marketing expert who is more at home with technology than I am with most people – these are
quirks. And they work positively for my business, for the most part. My unique combination of
quirks, experience, client work, failures and successes make me uniquely capable of providing
the kinds of marketing insights I do. It’s no understatement to say that no one else on earth
could do what I do. No one else could write in exactly the same way, with the same passion or
intensity, as Ash from The Middle Finger Project.
There’s a lot of confusion which leads Artists to attempt to become Assembly Workers.
You can’t systemize Art – when you do, it fails as Art.
The best quirky businesses can do is organize crafts – create processes, steps to build kinds
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
of art, (but very rarely systems – step by step instructions to create identical results) – and only
then, when the system is somewhat closed. That is, if the environment doesn’t change much
from time to time, you can keep the processes in place (and reliable cash flowing for quirky,
non-assembly-type businesses).
For instance, if I know Pinterest is around for a while – and will stay relatively similar from one
iteration to the next – I don’t have to worry about rebuilding my processes each time a new
business signs up. No matter the number or type of businesses that sign up (the open side of
the system), Pinterest stays stable (the closed side) and so my processes stay valid for as long
as that stays true and I can feel free as a craftsperson to make art and money.
Quirks don’t hold you back – quirks create your business.
(Header Photo Credit: Artist by vigo74)
Nick Armstrong’s WTF Marketing unapologetically rocks at energizing underdog small
businesses through strategic marketing. He’s the author of Psychotic Resumes and can be
found at and on Twitter at @ImNickArmstrong.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Coming Out Secretly…Shhh Don’t Tell
by Michelle Church
I’mmmm…Cominnnn…OUT!…(singing the Diana Ross song)
Coming out takes a hell of a lot of courage! (done, check) Being a full-time entrepreneur does
too! (complete, check) Sharing quirks via a blog for the world to see…MAJOR!
Our quirks is what makes all of us unique! Some quirks has its perks!
Check out “3′ of my quirks that have served me well.
I Answer the Phone
95% of the time you call me, I am going to answer my phone – live! Not quirky enough? Yes, it should not be, but it is.
How many times do you call a business and get a direct answer?..Think about it, I’ll wait…….
Right, people do not answer the phone. If it’s a larger business you are going to go through
someone’s ARU and push buttons until you get a live answer, or sit in queue for too long.
I was raised at the phone company. I worked for Ma Bell for almost 25 years. (AND, I am STILL
young…I digress)
During that journey, when I arrived home, I hated to answer the phone. That was something
we always talked about as employees of Ma Bell, we did not want to chit-chat when we got
As a service representative answering phones all day, “Thank you for calling….this is Michelle.”
I did not want to hear my house phone ring that evening! (House phone?)
That experience taught and trained me on the importance of customer service as well as
prepared me for entrepreneurship.
в—Џ I learned how to answer with a smile
в—Џ Have a mirror available to check your mood, and IF you are smiling
в—Џ Answer on the first ring
в—Џ Ask for permission to place them on hold
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Thank them for waiting when you get back on the line
Ask open questions
Listen…most importantly…Listen
Respond to verbal queues
Provide solutions to the issues, mirroring what the person shared, especially when they
said no.
Simple stuff. The journey with Ma Bell created an awful customer. My expectations for excellent
customer service is pretty high.
Overall, I am very grateful for the time and the thorough training. It has served me very well for
other experiences.
What was your last excellent customer service experience?
Too Much is NOT Enough…
I get bored rather quickly and easily…it is difficult to relax. I am a nite owl..which is when I do
my best work.
Having too much work IS a challenge but I thrive off of it. I tend to accomplish more when I
have too much; I get antsy when things are slow and do not get anything done.
Is it feast or famine for you? How do you handle that? Are you prepared?
A valuable lesson: be prepared for success. We often want success, market for success,
but when success happens, we are not always ready for the influx of new opportunities.
I was not prepared.
This year has been full of great challenges for me…more clients! Yay…but how do I handle all
of the influx of work? It has generated a need to take a deep look at my own productivity.
During a discussion about productivity with my wonderful mastermind group, it was suggested
to try a tool that could measure what I was doing. It would help to determine if time was being
The tool is Rescue Time. It’s a great tool. It truly boosted my confidence. I found that I was
NOT wasting time.
My next steps:
в—Џ Improve energy levels. Handling more business requires higher energy and effort.
Exercise more!
в—Џ Build a team. To enable quality time for self and loved ones, a team needs to be in
place to reduce time and stress.
в—Џ Stay focused. To maintain consistent growth, one needs to stay on the path that got
you there in the first place.
в—Џ Create systems. Create systems and processes so that the tasks performed are
consistent and represent the dynamics of what you bring to the table.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Not Knowing Software Excites Me
I am a bit of a geek, a dangerous one.
I get a thrill playing with software that I know nothing about. I can be
a little dangerous. I will try things with little or no knowledge, and then
run into a big OOPS! Then, I will read the instructions.
When I decided to start an online business, I had no clue how
websites were done. How the heck do you get them on the internet
for others to see?
I took a course that guided us through various steps of starting a
virtual assistant business. Part of the course included hiring someone
for $50 to set up our first website. (Yes, $50….it was 2004!)
I went for it. Purchased a domain, front page template, I was ready!
Ummm…content? What’s that and how will it look?
Pages? I have to decide on which pages and what they would say?
Really…….I couldn’t.
Idiscovered that I needed to be able to type on the page and then look at it. I couldn’t just type
it up and give direction. Sooo…I figured out how to use the template, purchased the software to
build my first site.
Piece of cake……. until it was time to go live. Fortunately the group I joined offered free
hosting (no clue why that was important at the time) and they published it for me.
Today, I am the same way with WordPress…I L O V E it!
A client created videos to introduce me to it about 3 years ago. I took that information and ran
with it.
Today, I consider myself above average. Still learning and trying new things – but I am very
good at it!
I have experienced a few crashes, but nothing that I could not figure out how to recover OR call
support for help! Backing up websites is key!
Having quirks is a positive thing. Too often others try to make us feel bad about being
different…be open with others and just maybe they will be open with you. If not, move on…and
find new energy! Do you know what quirks really make you tick?
Coming out is important, not only for our business, but revealing our authentic selves is great
therapy. When you are seeking new business via the internet, sharing is important.
How else will potential customers/clients find out who they are doing business with? What’s your
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
About Michelle Church
As a marketing support specialist Michelle helps her DIY coaches, authors,
and speakers implement their marketing strategies through social
networking, blogs, websites and much more. She is passionate about
helping others and doing what needs to be done to accomplish goals.
Michelle is tenacious, honest, loves challenges and always seeking to learn
The Quirky Bits of My Writing Brand
by Sharon Hurley Hall
The other day I had to think about what I offered to people as part of my brand. I think
it was an exercise in one of Tea Silvestre’s newsletters. I came up with these two
в—Џ I help writers earn more money by providing sustainable solutions for building writing
careers (that’s what this blog is about).
в—Џ I help clients reach their customers with excellent writing tailored to their needs and chosen
But then as part of this month’s Word Carnival, the idea was to reveal our quirks. When I started
thinking about this I realized that I am really lucky – and maybe many other writers are too.
All the quirks and weird interests that made me a girly swot in school, to use Enid Blyton’s
terminology, have turned out to be positives for my current writing career. Let me give you a few
The Grammar Gunslinger
I can spot a grammatical error at a thousand paces – don’t ask me why, that’s just the way I’m
wired. Blame it on years and years of reading voraciously – not to mention learning grammar in
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
several languages (English, of course, but also French, Spanish, German and even Latin). And
I loved it. That translates (get it?) into being able to identify and eliminate weaknesses in my
clients’ source copy and into being able to write clearly understandable copy of my own. That
ear for language also comes in handy when switching between varieties of English – that’s why
many of my American clients are surprised to find out I’m a Brit by birth.
Nerdy – and Lovin’ It
I’m a word nerd. I read books about language for fun and I find the origins of words fascinating.
I love learning new ones and I love sneaking them into client copy even more. That means my
clients are likely to get copy that’s fresh and new (don’t worry, I also know when clichés are
appropriate, not that I’d recommend them). That, along with my language background, usually
means I’m great at sniffing out nuances – useful when you’re trying to work out what clients
really want.
Proof Positive
Know what else I can spot a mile off? A misplaced comma or apostrophe. That makes me a
pretty good proofreader. Although I don’t usually offer this as a stand alone skill, it comes in
handy for editing ebooks and the like. I still occasionally get someone to read over my work,
especially if I’ve been staring at it for a long time. But luckily this runs in the family – my go-to
person for this is my sister, who is an excellent copywriter for a national health store chain in the
US and is one of the few I trust to check my work (she’s just as ruthless as I am).
Deadlines Rule
From an early age, I’ve been uptight about punctuality. Someone said to me the other
day: “You’re like me: 5 minutes early is on time, and on time is late”. That’s pretty much true.
My clients benefit because they all get their work on time and if there’s ever a change to the
schedule they know about it early – ask them and they’ll say I don’t miss deadlines. But I also
don’t like to rush good writing, so I usually build in a couple of days between the drafting and
polishing stages so I can approach my writing with fresh eyes.
Professional Eclectic
And here’s the biggest one – and it’s why I remain pretty much a generalist. I’m a polymath or
multipotentialite – that means I love learning about and tackling new topics. I’m a voracious
reader of an eclectic bunch of stuff. I learn something from all of it – or at least get new
questions to ask. This helped me a lot as an academic and as a journalist – and it helps me
now as a professional writer and blogger. I love spending time on research and making sure the
information is verifiable from multiple sources – triangulation should be my middle name. And of
course, I love asking questions – ask anyone I’ve interviewed recently. (By the way, I stole that
last subhead from my friend Rebecca Leaman).
Beyond the Quirks
So these are my quirks. I’m sure I share at least some of those with other writers but they make
me the person – and writer – that I am. And there’s one final thing. It’s not so much a quirk as
the way I like to live both my personal life and my professional life. I believe that my word is my
bond – I don’t make promises that I know I can’t keep. That means my friends know they can
trust me – and my clients do too. I will never sell them a service they don’t need or knowingly let
them go down the wrong path – and I can sleep at night.
What trait that people considered weird or nerdy in your youth is part of your brand today?
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
(Image: Paul Downey/Flickr)
Grammar gunslinger Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. She also helps
writers earn more money by providing sustainable solutions for building writing careers on Get
Paid to Write Online.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
How To Embrace Your Quirky Bits
by Sandi Amorim
- an individual peculiarity of character; mannerism or foible
also: far-out, kinky, offbeat, way-out
Your quirks are the qualities that make you stand out from the crowd.
Are you looking at me?
Does the thought of standing out from the crowd make you sweat a little? Have you spent most
of your life just trying to fit in?
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Then this is your wake-up call.
When you resist your quirky bits you’re saying there’s something you can’t be with about
yourself. And if you can’t be with it, how the hell can anyone else be with it?
Truth: What you can’t be with owns you.
The flip side, when you embrace those parts of yourself, not only do you stand out, but you
make room for others.
All those people you compare yourself to? They’ve got their quirks too.
And all those qualities you wish were different about you? Someone out there is looking for just
those qualities and you might fit the bill brilliantly!
So just how do you embrace your quirky bits?
What have people said about you your whole life?
What’s the common denominator (either +/-)?
For as long as I can remember I was told (first by family and then later by friends, and even
men I dated!) that I was too intense. When I do something I go for it fully, and over the years I
learned it wasn’t ok with a lot of people. They said things like, “Tone it down, why do you have
to rock the boat all the time?”
So I suppressed it so that others would feel comfortable, and that suppression had a cost
greater than I imagined. Suppression always has a cost, usually an impact on health and wellbeing.
Now imagine taking that quirk and unleashing it. . .
You can you know. . .let that quirk show up as the fullest expression of you. Think of the time
and energy you’ll be freeing up as you fly your quirk flag!
When I did, I’m sure it felt like a tsunami of intensity to some people. And maybe they
unfriended me, or perhaps unsubscribed (and yes, I’ve been told my writing is often too intense)
because they couldn’t handle it. Guess what? That’s their issue. It’s not my job to make them
feel comfortable!
But something else happened too. . .
Other people were blown away, attracted to my intensity and kept coming back for more.
Clients come to me because they want someone who’s not afraid to get in their face and tell the
truth. They want someone who’s not willing to tolerate their someday thinking.
Friends, colleagues and opportunities come to me because I own this quirk completely. I’m
reliable for it and it makes a difference for them.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
I’d even say that my husband was attracted to me because of my intensity. Sure, it can be
challenging to be with me, but the challenge causes us both to grow every time.
You don’t have to be all things to all people. You only have to be yourself and attract
your perfect people.
When you embrace your quirks those people will show up, and everyone else will move on.
There’s a flow and rightness to this that we just don’t talk about enough.
You could say it’s a bonus side effect of embracing your quirks – more energy and a lightness of
And who wouldn’t want that?
“You have been created as one of a kind. On the planet, there has never been one like
you. . .and there never will be again. Your spirit, your thoughts and feelings, your ability
to reason and act all exist in no one else. The rarities that make you special are no mere
accident or quirk of fate.” ~ Andy Andrews (From The Butterfly Effect)
Over to you:
1. Make a list of your quirks.
2. Pick the one that you’ve tried for so long to suppress.
3. Go be that intentionally and blow people away.
Open the floodgates, unleash your quirkiness and watch your perfect people line up!
Bonus action: Share some of your silly quirks below, ie: I always eat the bottom of the muffin
first and I’m addicted to murder mysteries!
(Image credit: Kit Lane/Flickr)
Sandi Amorim is a Coach & Instigator who believes there is no someday and deathbed regrets
suck! She is intense about crushing that someday thinking and getting on with the work you
were born to do. She shares her slightly mad twist on personal development at Deva Coaching.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
I Have That Face
By Melanie Kissell
I have that face. No, really. I do.
You know, that you-look-like-my-cousin face that compels complete strangers to strike up
impromptu conversations with me as well as ask for special favors.
I can't tell you how many times I've been in the grocery store, for example, and find myself being
asked questions like, "Which aisle is the mustard on?" Or "Where's the toilet paper?"
I must have that face that says I have the entire store's inventory memorized.
There are times I've been out walking my dogs and a car pulls up along the curb, the driver rolls
down the passenger window, leans over and says, "Can you please tell me how to get to the
210 Freeway from here?"
I must have that face that says I know all the side streets and highways in Southern
California and can direct people to wherever they need to go.
It never fails. I can be in line at the bank, along with eight other people, and the fifth person
behind me will take one look at my face and ask to borrow a pen (The pens on the bank
counters rarely work. Seems to me a bank, of all institutions, could afford a couple of new pens,
but what do I know?)
I must have that face that says my handbag is equipped with stationery supplies and
plenty to go around.
Here's a good one. I've had strangers ask me for quarters for the parking meter.
I must have that face that says I don't mind giving money to anyone who asks.
I don't get it. Why me?
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
It must be a "quirk".
This "quirkiness" I have carries over into the world of online marketing, social networking, and
I believe my greatest strength is in relationship building – the most essential factor in building
success online. My interpersonal skills are where I shine … and that’s where I’m at my absolute
Only online ...
No one asks me for driving directions, quarters for the parking meter, a pen, or where to find the
toilet paper!
Melanie Kissell smooths out the wrinkles of creative entrepreneurial chaos,
blogging, and social media marketing for mompreneurs (and anyone else
brave enough to join this circus).
by Katrina Pfannkuch
Photo by assbach
Authentic Connect: The Real You is Your Best and
Only Currency
To really connect with others, the most important thing you need to be able to do is show and
share your authentic self. Sounds simple, right? Actually, as one of the hardest things in the
world to do, it’s still the number one thing that holds people back in their lives and businesses.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
And don’t be fooled by first impressions, despite the old adage. Most often people only show
what they think you want to see first rather than the truth. Whether they are doing it consciously
or not, that’s another story. Often this is what marketing is based on – telling people what you
think they want to hear so they will buy or commit to a brand.
However, the real you is your best and only currency.
When the Writing Needs to be on the Wall
With a long career in marketing based writing and consulting, making things sound fabulous is
second nature to me. I know how to twist an angle, eloquently talk about strengths and create
an authentic hook that reels people in naturally. I also know how to polish a turd, and to the best
of my ability, focus on the positive.
But writing about people, or when people need to write about themselves, it’s quite the opposite.
They have a really hard time seeing their own value, gifts and big picture contributions. They
struggle with the right way to talk about themselves that “doesn’t seem like bragging”, and often
just talk about themselves as little as possible because it makes them uncomfortable. Most
often their biggest struggle is how to write about and market themselves in a way that sounds
and feels authentic; to talk about their gifts using language that draws in people for a personal
and business connection.
I think it’s because they are very attached to the idea of who they SHOULD be, but have no idea
who they really are. People are afraid to share the unique quirks and “weirder bits” that truly
make them so awesome in the first place, but those are the real, authentic connecting points
that bridge them with like-minded people, businesses and clients.
Show Us What You Got!
Do you feel you have a good sense of who you are, beyond the generic ideas and personal
programming? Can you really be honest with yourself, in the most challenging of moments, and
really own up to who you are? Do you spend any regular time alone, in some contemplative
space, thinking about your life and how to be an active participant instead of an unwilling
spectator, being dragged through one dramatic life experience after the other?
Most importantly, do you share some things about yourself with others or through your business
that you feel might be “weird” to others?
These are just some of the things you can think about to open the conversation with yourself
and make it honest. There is no right answer and there is no rush. And if you need a little help
seeing your gifts and how to use them to connect with others (which is why we have them in the
first place), talk with someone who can reflect your unique beauty back to you – whether you
consult with a professional like myself or a friend or family member.
And in the spirit of sharing, I have to be fair. Here are a few things you may not know about
I love celebrity gossip and soap operas – it helps me relax and decompress
I’m highly intuitive and can tune into people, seeing where they have energy blocks or
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
things they are unable to see in themselves
I adore animals, all kinds, and used to do wild animal rehab work with the Humane
I’m originally from the northeast, and have the attitude to match (when I need it)
I love dark and sour beers
I'm a writer, creative consultant, content strategist and teacher who lives to
write and create. I have over 14 years of experience with writing, editing and
content strategy for a variety of companies and industries, and specialize in
green business, health and wellness and metaphysical topics. My blog
CreativeKatrina explores ideas, tools and perspectives that tap into the
creative seed present in every moment.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Quirkology. Separating the cream from the wishy-washywhey.
by Sandy McDonald
quirky |kwЙ™rkД“|
Characterised by peculiar or unexpected traits
You’ve never heard of Quirkology? That most
vital ingredient of entrepreneurial behaviour that
separates the cream from the whey?
By the time you’ve read and absorbed these 12
accounts of Quirkology and the other �weird bits’
that make up an immutable brand of one, you’ll
either be on the quest for it, or thrilled to
discover that you have it in pail loads.
Here’s what underpins Quirkology and its twists, turns and unexpected traits. It’s the
quintessence of it’s character. The biggest pail of all.
Quirkologists know very clearly and very precisely the ineradicable truth that is their big picture.
They can dip into that pail over and over again and regardless of the quirks with which they
chose to demonstrate it, they’ll always communicate the same unique essence that describes
why they do what they do and for whom.
Does that sound simple? Try this exercise. I’m so and so, I work for exactly who, doing exactly
what. I believe that ….. (insert big picture vision here). Does it flow without hesitation, or are you
stuck in the Offer Coffer? That’s a very large mucky trunk filled with everything you doubtless
have expertise in, available for everyone from the milkmaid to the dairy factory and maybe even
the milking cows in-between.
These entrepreneurs are super clear about their big picture. They’re people on a mission.
Their big picture rarely involves making truck loads of dosh, unless it facilitates the ability to
help others. The readies to ensure they can do their business and live the lifestyle they have
ascribed to is a given.
Nor does their big picture involve ego. You won’t hear, “I believe I AM the cream.” You will
hear, “I believe there’s never been a better time for every entrepreneur to separate from the
whey, be the cream and make a difference with why they do what they do’. Marked difference.
Entrepreneurs who embrace quirkology are prepared to develop �peculiar and unexpected
traits’. They’re completely open to ideas. They’ll test an idea against their Big Picture, if it fits
they’ll wear the hat. Think Richard Branson wearing a wedding dress to launch Virgin Brides.
Okay we’re not all Richard Branson, but every time we launch a post into cyberworld, we’re
doing the equivalent.
Which brings me to why you must blog. Of course. Quirkologists blog. They’re impassioned
communicators. They speak in the only voice they understand; theirs. Its’s true, authentic
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
and passionate. They’re unafraid to share their IP, happy to accept scrutiny and feedback,
encouraging of others who take up their mantle. They’re story tellers.
A man I met at a business lunch a short time ago, said, “I wouldn’t blog and tell people how or
why or what I do, they may steal my ideas.” What a sad, mean spirited reality he lived.
Quirkologists are not mean. They’re generous and expansive in their desire to share with the
world what they’ve learned. They know what works to make a difference. They also understand
the value of their core offer, price it accordingly and people pay happily for the privilege.
They’re fun and real. They wear large green hats and laugh on their business cards, like Jewells
Black, Be Brilliant Now, they teach entrepreneurs using fairy stories like Glen Carlson, Key
Person Of Influence, they use evocative cooking analogies to describe how to brand yourself,
like Tea Silvestre, The Word Chefhey may even swear like a trooper while telling the most
poignant story of a drowning they witnessed like Ashley Ambirge from The Middle Finger
They move us with their stories, enrol us in their passion, engage us in their missions. They’re
people we aspire to and want to learn from. They are, above all, completely authentic. They
have integrity.
They’re around in all shapes and all guises. It’s easy to find them online, just hang around
one and soon enough they’ll introduce you to others. Offline, you might need to be a bit more
discerning. But you can tell soon enough. They’re interested in you first. They’re prepared to
listen. When you ask them what they do, you’ll get the picture in a under a minute. While they’re
precise, (no jargon, no waffle, no blah, blah, blah), there’ll be no question of their passion.
They score highly on all five filters of the trust monitor, competency, inclusivity, disclosure,
transparency and authenticity.
They’re a brand of one. They make a difference.
Sandy McDonald is the creator of Why You Must Blog,
ClanMakers and founder of the online charity, KasCare
and the LInkedIn Group, Inspiring Women Online.
Why You Must Blog was borne out of the strongly-held
belief that blogging is a powerful tool for businesses to
develop clans online. The first revelation of this
awesome media, was through her online charity,
KasCare. This simple idea to offer warmth and comfort
to some of the 2. 4 million southern African children,
orphaned by HIV/AIDS and poverty, has resulted in a
growing international community of more than 10,000
members from 54 countries, which thrives today.
Sandy believes that the Web has put in reach of every business owner the ability to create
clans online and that the collective inspiration of these clans will impact on the global issues of
disease, poverty and inequity.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
For More Profit, Just Add Quirks
by Nicole Fende
Would you buy a finance book from this
person? Listen to her advice on pricing?
Ask her to help with your cash flow
If your answer was “Heck Yeah!” you’ve just
made it past my velvet rope. Here’s your
VIP pass and welcome drink.
Think you don’t need a velvet rope? Reflect
for a minute on any well attended, high
dollar event. There’s always a VIP entrance.
If you really want to get into the event and
desire the full experience you’ll pay for that
VIP Pass. If the event was only a passing
fancy you may wait in line, or you may just
Embracing your quirks creates a profitable
velvet rope. It intrigues and attracts people
who desire your products and services. And
they’re willing to pay.
Wondering who this is in the picture? Keep
reading to find out.
Learn how to turn your quirks
into a profit boosting velvet rope!
Recently my husband and I found ourselves child free on a Friday night. It was actually a bit
bewildering. We could actually do something that didn’t involve Dora the Explorer, Thomas the
Train, or the local park’s jungle gym.
I decided to do an internet search of local bars that offered live entertainment. I knew I’d hit gold
when I found the website for Bogart’s Place and saw this:
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
We had a fabulous time at Bogart’s and will definitely go back. How did this quirky warning
make them money?
The minute I saw this I knew my husband and I would enjoy this show. The $5 per person
cover didn’t phase me. I wanted to enjoy our precious date night. $10 seemed cheap!
Throughout the show the performers would encourage the audience to do another shot or
order another drink. As I write this in black and white it sounds pushy and obnoxious. Yet
at the time it was just part of the show. It reminded me of parties where the host made sure
your glass was always full. Read the warning again, ordering shots is offered as a solution.
Consider how your business might use a quirky “warning” to attract your perfect
customers. Try posting it on your Facebook page or tweeting it out. Track the results and ask
new clients what drew them in.
Using Quirks to Sell Professional Services
Have you ever watched Mad Money with
Jim Cramer? That’s Jim on the left. He’s an
absolute riot. His show is geared towards the
individual investor, and airs on CNBC.
Sound tedious? Never. Jim prowls his studio
like a caged tiger. He has buttons that will
play a variety of sound effects, and he uses
them throughout the show. People calling in
often start by yelling “Booyah!”.
How does Jim make money using his quirks?
His TV show has been on the air since 2005.
Can you name another show geared towards the individual stock investor with a single host
that has lasted as long? Jim entertains while teaching, and people tune in to watch.
Jim is also a best-selling author, tapping into the large pool of people who find investing
tedious but love to make more money!
Do you provide a service that people view as drudgery? Do you think dentists rate higher than
you on the fun scale? Heck, maybe you ARE a dentist.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Use your personality to stand out and draw people in. There are plenty of stock analysts
out there, but only one Jim Cramer. Ask your friends and family about your most enjoyable /
endearing / entertaining traits. How can you use those in your business?
Follow My Lead – The Numbers Whisperer™ Value Add Quirks
Have you figured out yet who that is in the picture? It’s me!
When I decided to do a photo shoot for my new book, How to be a Finance Rock Star: The
Small Business Owner’s Ticket to Multi-Platinum Profits, the photographer and I decided some
thematic pictures would be fun.
That leather jacket, which has a dragon hand painted on the back, was purchased back when
I was in college. Right after dirt was invented. The wig (it IS a wig) was picked up while I lived
in Hong Kong. I had been nervous about using those props – who would trust me about their
Guess what… I attracted MORE people with that picture. I’ve even had it turned into a poster
and display it when promoting my book at events. People are intrigued. Maybe finance can be
I’ve also discovered my sense of humor is a great velvet rope quirk. I started sharing
a “guarantee” off hand with people and was amazed at how it resonated.
You’ll laugh or I’ll eat my pocket protector.
Time and again I’ve had clients say to me that my fun, friendly, and at times silly
approach is why they chose me.
Looking for a place that will help you embrace your unique quirks? Then you need to check
out the Circus Serene by Tori Deaux. Tori also hosts a weekly Twitter chat with the hashtag
#quirkybiz on Mondays at 1 p.m. CST. I even have a coffee mug from Tori that says Quirk It
Like I Mean It.
Final Thoughts
What are some of your quirks? Are you using them in your business? If so, how do they drive
your profit? Need help in applying your quirks for profit? Throw them out below for a crowd
sourced solution.
Nicole Fende is The Numbers Whispererв„ў and President of
Small Business Finance Forum. As a credentialed actuary
with experience as a Chief Financial Officer, Investment
Banker, and successful entrepreneur, Fende helps her clients
reach their profit goals and learn how to effectively and
enjoyably run the financial side of their business. In her
book, How to be a Finance Rock Star, Nicole shares the same
strategies she uses for her profit coaching clients to help them
reach multi-platinum profits.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Quirky Much? How Your Oddities, Flaws and Peculiar Habits Help
Build a Stronger Brand
by Tea Silvestre
You and I may never meet in real life.
So there are a few things you might never learn about me.
The fact that I’m 6 ft. tall, for instance.
Or, that I generally operate on the “piles and post-its” filing system.
(But those are just surface quirks. Not the deeper, more meaningful kind to be revealed later…)
And yes, there are other quirks — weird passions and habits — that I do mention from time to time, that I
believe help build the communication bridge between us.
Tidbits like my love for all-things sci-fi. My strange addiction to paranormal romance novels (okay, they’re
trashy books gussied up with a little other-worldly afterglow). And my deep affection for sweet potatoes.
Watch my videos a little more closely and you might catch the fact that I have a waaay crooked smile. Or
that I’m exceptionally well-endowed up top. (Trust me ladies, bigger is NOT always better.)
Again – these peculiar bits don’t mean a whole lot on their own. But they do help make me a little less
one-dimensional, wouldn’t you say?
The funny thing is, these are all things that most people normally shy away from sharing. For fear of being
seen as “unprofessional” or of revealing things that might hurt their reputations as “experts.” Or even
looking a little silly.
They say things like, “Who cares if I’m the reigning pie-eating champ in four counties? It doesn’t really
pertain to my business, so why on earth would I put in on my bio? Won’t it make me look dumb?”
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
Why, indeed!
Guess what?
Your weirdness makes you human. And being human is where it’s at — especially if you’re trying to build
a strong brand and a successful business.
Branding, my friends, is all about story telling. And whether you like it or not, your brand tells a story.
That story can be boring as heck.
Or, engaging and interesting. Maybe even a story that your customers can’t wait to share with their
The challenge is to make sure your story has lively and memorable characters.
You — as one of the main characters — need to be someone your audience finds fascinating.
Think of your marketing copy and content like a novel. Of course, you want your heroine to have a
background, a history, and yes some motivations. Every author knows that.
But when we add weird quirks to the mix, then we’ve got a character our readers can relate to. A hero
they can root for.
The trick is to find your sweet spot between the two extremes of buttoned-up-business and naked-like-astreaker.
Here’s the kicker: it’s not that hard to do. Just start small.
Fear. Get Over It.
Clients constantly tell me: “I could never be who I really am. It’s just too �out there’ for my target market/
professional circle/industry/etc.”
Isn’t the first rule of marketing to find your USP (unique selling proposition)? To stand out and be
So why on earth would you want to fit in? Being unpopular is what you’re after!
You’re running a business, not surviving high school drama.
Here’s proof: Purple Cows. Yep. I’m pulling the Godin card on you. (Yes YOU. The one who’s afraid to
step out and be your brilliant, weird-ass self. You know who you are.)
Branding and marketing is all about being different. So you can be visible. And then memorable.
It’s about finding your Secret Sauce and then using that to create a product or service that is so unique,
so YOU, that it can’t be copied or duplicated by anyone. Least of all, your competitors.
But How Quirky is Too Quirky?
Usually, when I talk with clients about creating a signature dish, I have them focus first on their strengths,
goals and passions. Their values. Their talents. You know, the good stuff.
And those are important, don’t get me wrong.
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
But if you only show people your good side, they’ll never identify with you as a fellow-human being. A
And we all know that (say it with me now) people buy from people they know, like and trust.
So yes, rapport is what we’re trying to build. Empathy and…okay — in a strange way, fitting in.
But this isn’t you fitting in with them.
Nope. This is them feeling like they belong with you.
Because you’ve shown them someone they can relate to AND respect — flaws AND fortitude — in a way
that helps both of you move your conversations toward the ones that really matter.
The trick is knowing when and where to add your idiosyncrasies to the conversation!
Here’s a little advice: don’t over do it.
Your personality needs to be there. Your voice, your opinions, your YOUness is the “salt” of your Secret
Without it, your branding will just sit there like a bowl of oatmeal (sans the brown sugar, cranberries,
toasted walnuts, and so on).
But too much, and your audience won’t be able to hear your true message — and your bright shiny vision
and mission won’t have a prayer of being realized in all their glorious glory.
No, there’s no exact measurement or ratio I can give you for putting this together in the tastiest way
possible. But, I can tell you it’s a lot like cooking.
The trick is to add your quirks a pinch at a time. Taste. Repeat. Until it clicks. Until you start getting a
positive response from people. Until you start feeling like your whole, authentic self. Then, you’ll know
you’ve got the recipe just right.
And a little advice? The more the quirk has nothing to do with your expertise, the more careful you should
be about how often and where you share it.
For example, a little on your About Me page will go along way…just don’t lead with it. These are the kinds
of things you say in passing — in a blog post (when it fits), in an email newsletter (when it’s appropriate),
and yes, especially via social media.
What the Heck is a Quirk? (And how can you get some?)
It’s safe to say that the trauma of junior high school (and yes, high school and most of college) made us
all believe that there are certain things we should keep to ourselves.
If you were like me, you endured your share of teasing. And so you did the best you could to NOT stand
I hit my current height at the age of 12. And blossomed into a C-cup by the time I was 14.
As you can imagine, these two things made it darn near impossible to hide. Even though I tried to make
myself smaller. To hunch over and slink away unnoticed. It didn’t work.
Thankfully, my mom nipped that bad habit in the bud. She told me to stand up straight and look people
in the eye. She said, “People can still see you when you hunch over. And all you’re going to do is end up
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
with a bad back and a horrible attitude. Cut. It. Out!”
It wasn’t easy for me at first. In fact, it was pretty dang uncomfortable. So I know that sharing your
authentic self might not feel normal. That it might even feel a bit scary.
That’s okay. Just know that now’s the time to come out of the proverbial closet and be who you are —
warts and all.
Start small, grow BIG
Here are a few examples of peculiarities that folks shared with me on Facebook earlier this week.
Nancy (of Nancy Meadows Interior Design) says, “I don’t think loving peanut butter and mayo sandwiches
is quirky. But, if someone sees me eating one or hears about my food favorite, they think it’s weirdly
quirky. Now, peanut butter and banana sandwiches? That’s quirky!”
Katherine (of Haydn Grey Copywriting) told me, “I obsessively photograph food – (both mine and other
people’s) My family always sighs with exasperation if their meal comes along and it looks nice because I
have to photograph it before they can eat…When I spent four days in Japan a few years ago I took over
5,000 photographs — mainly of food.”
Rachel (of said, “I’m faceblind. I can barely recognize my own husband out of context.”
Jennifer (of Scraps of Life) revealed, “[I've got an] “obsession” with monkeys…most probably calling
myself “Queen of the Helper Monkeys” is a bit quirky. (And I see your paranormal romance thing and call
it with my witchy mystery chick-lit.)”
Rachel (of ProNagger) shared three: “1. I consider books on philosophy, history, brain science and
evolutionary psychology pleasure reading. 2. I still have my comfort object from childhood. 3. I literally fall
down laughing.”
Joel (of confided, “It’s one I haven’t indulged in a while, but I used to LOVE to
slide pretzel sticks into a bottle of coke, sip the foam that resulted from the salt, then slurp the soggy
pretzels out of the bottle. Ahhh!”
Rebecka (of Monkeys Love Donuts) told me, “I talk to myself. out loud. a lot. (I spoke that last sentence
as I typed.) Also - I can’t work unless I have a cup of coffee sitting next to me. I don’t necessarily drink it,
but it has to be there.”
Did you notice a pattern? (I mean, besides the food references?) These are “safe” quirks. They’re not
dangerous in any way, shape or form. They’re also not damning evidence that these folks can’t do their
jobs. They’re just tiny oddities that help us see them from a different (slightly weird) perspective.
Something that might make us smile. Or even laugh. Or — wonder more about them. (<–The Ultimate
Marketing Goal.) And really, these are the best kind of quirks to start with.
What’s cool here is that these are also unexpected and unrelated to what the person does for a living.This
concept is key.
If you’re a photographer by trade, then telling people you have a weird obsession for taking photographs
doesn’t really help us see you in a different light. We expect photographers to be obsessed with taking
photographs. And yes, that kind of thing can be helpful to your branding, too. Just in a different way than
we’re discussing here.
When you get your sea legs and feel a little more confident, you can then choose to reveal a political
opinion or your stance on something spiritual. (Those bigger, deeper quirks will help draw your right
people to you super fast while simultaneously pushing away those that don’t belong. Revealing them
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
takes courage, but can be uber-powerful.)
Here’s a layer of my own onion I haven’t pulled back before: I’m an ex-Mormon who is deeply spiritual
(but not religious). My particular outlook on life (and business!) is that it’s all about the journey, not the
destination. Now, that might seem like business heresy, so let me clarify: Yes, goals are crucial. Yes,
planning needs to happen. But ultimately, being present and open and willing to play and enJOY what
we’re doing (and learn from it), is what will make getting there worth every second of the ride.
How about you? Are you ready to reveal something strange about yourself to the world?
About Tea (the Chef)
As a marketing/branding coach and consultant, Tea excels at helping her
clients find and share their Secret Sauce with the world. She's also the founder
of the Tastiest Small Biz Brand Awards and the author of the new book "Attract
and Feed a Hungry Crowd: How thinking like a Chef can help you build a
stronger business.”
Small Biz Advice that’s FUN to read:
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