Eggplant Parm (Issue 913)

In which we are reminded to develop one point, at least, that makes us easily memorable.

One morning, driving to a client meeting, listening to the morning news on the car radio (I know, who does THAT anymore?),  I heard a commercial that just “popped”:

(Restaurant plates and glasses dining sounds in the background) “$350, dinner for the two of you? Yeah, I know the food was good but you also know you could’ve gone around the corner to that other place and had eggplant Parm for $12 and you would’ve been completely satisfied. We are Ace window and that’s who we are.  We’re the eggplant Parm.  Good windows at a fair price.”

I almost drove off the road. “We’re the eggplant Parm.” I could smell the cheese and red sauce and sense the heat of the plate.  BRILLIANT! Good windows at a fair price, completely satisfied, you won’t feel guilty, we’re the eggplant Parm – speaking directly to their target buyers. Memorable!

Cut away to Orlando, Florida, the Orange County Convention Center. I’ve requested an Uber for transportation to the airport.  The car arrives; it’s a short, boxy, tall-roofed sedan painted a medium purple. Spotless.  The driver hops out, smiling, welcoming arms extended. He’s dressed “late 1960’s hippie rock ‘n roll band front man”.  Beard, shoulder length hair, granny glasses, top hat, leather vest, T-shirt, jeans, and heavy boots.   The late Dr. John came to mind immediately.  

The inside of his car is decorated with bright colors, beads, lots of dangling dingles and foofy stuff.  He engaged me in conversation immediately. I asked him, “How’d you choose this approach?”  He replied, “Lots of families come to Orlando. This is a magic place and I like to start the magic as soon as they get into my car.”

I’ve taken hundreds of Uber rides. Hundreds!  And  I remember this one.

I have a consultant friend who takes chewy  chocolate chip cookies to client meetings… all meetings… no matter what time of day.  A medical friend takes peanut or almond M&Ms.   I know a guy whose signature is bow ties. Another, a bank EVP – it’s his socks: Amazing, brightly colored socks. Another has a predilection for hats…. Panama hats, in particular.

There are dozens of smart people with good ideas in our worlds. How do we make the time and experience with us stand out?  How can we put people at ease quickly? What’s uniquely “us” and “memorable” in our personal brands? What’s our sensory signature? And, are we the “eggplant Parm” or the Oysters Rockefeller?

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