Be UN-

Be UN avoidable.
So customers can’t (not) take a picture of your store.
So customers can’t (not) walk into your store.

Be UN competable.
So you’re the only one who does what you do.
So you’re not only ON your customer’s list, you ARE your customer’s list.

Be UN confusable.
So you’re a category of one.
So you’re the origin, not the echo.

Be UN defeatable.
So you keep showing up.
So you prove your persistence.

Be UN disputable.
So you become THEE, not A.
So you become the obvious choice.

Be UN forgettable.
So your service goes beyond just being “memorable.”
So you stay in customers’ minds forever.

Be UN ique.
So you’re not just “different.”
So you’re somebody who reminds everybody of nobody else.

Be UN predictable.
So you break customers’ patterns.
So you gain customers’ attention.

Be UN stealable.
So if somebody tried to copy you or steal your material, they would fail.
So if somebody tried to copy you or steal your material, people would know.

Be UN stoppable.
So you’re not just another One Hit Wonder.
So you’re constantly expanding your body of work and reinforcing your legacy.

What’s your UN-?

Make a list of as many UN’s as you can for your business.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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Approachability 2.0

CustomInk is the web’s most advanced virtual store for custom decorated merchandise.

Customers are empowered to design and order customized apparel, drink ware and novelties for their businesses, teams, groups and events with greater ease, speed and value than ever before.

BUT WAIT, IT GETS BETTER: they understand Approachability 2.0 better than most Fortune 500 companies.

For example: On their Ink of the Week Blog, each week they award a $100 voucher to the CustomInk customer with the photo showing the most group spirit!

First, customers submit their photo to enter the contest.

Then, blog visitors pick the week’s competition winner by clicking and rating their favorite photos!

Coolest thing ever done by a t-shirt company in the history of t-shirt companies!

See, CustomInk gets it. Their Approachability 2.0 idea WINS because:

1. It’s fun.
2. It’s cool.
3. It participative.
4. It’s emotional.
5. It cultivates fans, not customers.
6. It spreads word of mouth.
7. NOBODY else does this.
8. It builds community.
9. It shows and proves instead of just telling and selling.
10. It’s the best testimonial in the world.
11. It shows the benefit of the benefit of the benefit.


1. Customers need to see PICTURES of other customers using, wearing and enjoying your products.
2. It’s 2007. Get a blog.
3. Approachable always wins.

Why aren’t you blogging yet?

Start a blog TODAY, but don’t be like 50% of all bloggers in the world and abandon your blog after two months. Stick with it! It pays off. Eventually.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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Always have something to give

PICTURE THIS: you plop down next to a friendly guy on the plane.

After a brief greeting, he asks about your work.

“I’m an author,” you say.

“Cool! What kind of books?” he asks.

So you tell him. And he becomes very excited. Obviously, he’s a perfect reader for you.

“Wow, that sounds great,” he replies. “My entire office needs to read your book! You wouldn’t happen to have an extra copy in your bag, would you?”

“Oh, uh … no. Sorry,” you say. “But I’m sure your local Borders has it in stock.”


Yeah. “Oh” is right.

LESSON LEARNED: being in the right place at the right time does you no good…

Until you deliver VALUE.

That’s one of the keys to sticking yourself out there: always having something to give.

As an author, I don’t go anywhere without at least one of my books.

Because you never know whom you might meet.
You never know who might ask for one.
And you never know what business opportunities might arise by one.

Of course, this isn’t just about authors.

This is about ANY entrepreneur, artist, solo practitioner, consultant, writer, speaker, performer or musician … who wants to make a name for himself.

Always have something to give.

See, people need visuals. They need proof that you’re the real deal.

Unfortunately, first impressions don’t take very long. That’s why having something to give the perfect shortcut.

I remember a few years ago, I was chatting with a guy while waiting in line at Kinko’s. Turns out he was an up-and-coming DJ.

When I asked him if he had any of his music handy, he said, “Sure, follow me…”

We walked over to his car, he popped the trunk, and this guy had five boxes of CD’s ready to go!

“Here ya go! I always keep a few copies handy, just in case,” he laughed.

Think that guy is going to be successful?


Because he’s always ready to pitch on a moment’s notice.

Because he always has something to give.

See, Strategic Serendipity is about preparation.

And if you want to make a name for yourself, consider all the potential things YOU could be ready to give!

1. Philosophy cards
2. Tip sheets
3. Demo Videos
4. Copies of your CDs
5. Copies of your books

…all of these items deliver value, support your brand and enable a conversation to go from mundane to memorable.

So whether it’s in person, on the plane or even waiting in line at Kinko’s, remember this:

Being in the right place at the right time does you no good…

Until you deliver VALUE.

Do you always have something to give?

Make a list of 10 potential freebies you could give away at a moment’s notice. Try one a week.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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The Nametag Guy’s 600th Post Spectacular!

Today is a very special day.


Which means I’ve been at this blogging thing for about five years. (If you’re trying to do the math, I didn’t use to post every day like I do now.)

Anyway, I can honestly say, blogging is one of the best things (if not THEE best thing) I’ve ever done for my business. Ever.


Well, this would be a really long post if I tried to explain all the reasons.

But I think mainly, blogging has afforded me the opportunity to create, meet, build community for and have conversations with my fans.

God, it’s so weird to think that I have fans.

2,480 days ago when I slapped on my very first nametag, I NEVER could have guessed THIS would be the result.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: thank you.

THANK YOU … to all the people who share their comments, stories and opinions on this blog. Your feedback motivates me.

THANK YOU … to all the people who share link love on their blogs. Your WOM honors me.

THANK YOU … to all the people who write emails, expressing their gratitude for what they’ve learned by reading this blog. Your letters make me smile.

THANK YOU … to all the people who actually implemented the things they learned on this blog. Your letters make me jump up and smile!

THANK YOU … to all the people who write me hatemail. Your (interestingly) anonymous hatred keeps me on my toes, and of course, makes me laugh.

And lastly…

THANK YOU … to anybody who’s EVER read a single post on this blog in the past five years. Your support keeps me sane. As a writer, it sucks when you stick your stuff out there, only to have nobody read it.

Therefore, I, Scott Ginsberg, hereby declare that for as long as I possibly can, I will continue to post valuable, practical and fun ideas on this blog (that you can actually apply to your businesses and lives) … every single day.

If you’re reading this post…

If you’ve read ANY post…

I love you.

You make getting up every morning at 5 AM worthwhile.

Here’s to 600 more posts!

When was the last time you thanked your fans?

Go on your blog right now, and do it. They deserve it.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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Even when you say no, you’re still marketing

PICTURE THIS: you get an email out the blue from a prospect.

But not just ANY prospect … the perfect customer.

Exactly the type of client you want to work with.

The good news is; they want to hire you!
The bad news is; you’re booked solid.

Looks like you’re going to have to turn down their business.

What do you do?

Well, first of all, saying no isn’t really BAD news. After all, it means…

You’re in demand.
You’re staying busy.
You’re attracting the right type of clients.

That’s a great place for any company to be!

BUT HERE’S THE CHALLENGE: how do you say no to new business … while STILL marketing?

Take a lesson from Progressive Insurance.

In 1994, Progressive became the first auto insurance company to provide its rates alongside the rates of other companies.

That way, consumers could easily compare and decide … even if they didn’t use Progressive!

I remember when their commercials first came out. EVERYBODY was talking about them.

“So, Progressive will give you the insurance rates of their competitors? That’s so cool!”

Cool, indeed.

Not what you’d expect from an insurance company, right?

Exactly. Which is precisely why that sentence became their widely recognized tagline.

Also, I snooped around online and found this great excerpt from their annual report:

“Fast. Fair. Better. That’s what you can expect from Progressive. Everything we do recognizes the needs of busy consumers who are cost-conscious, increasingly savvy about insurance and ready for easy, new ways to quote, buy and manage their policies, including claims service that respects their time and reduces the trauma and inconvenience of loss.”


Progressive LOVES and RESPECTS their customers SO MUCH, they’ll do whatever it takes to make them happy.

Even if it means forfeiting new business!

See, Progressive found a way to say no to its potential customers … while STILL maintaining (and reinforcing) brand integrity.

That’s the way the game of marketing should be played.

So, if you find yourself in a situation where you just HAVE to turn new business away, remember this:

Don’t just say no and then hang up!

“Well, we’re sorry sir. Can’t help ya out today. But, we wish you good luck fishing that dead raccoon out of your chimney. Bye!”

If you were that customer, how would YOU feel?

INSTEAD, TRY THIS: create a policy, procedure or protocol for saying no. Have options or a decision tree on-hand. Find a way to STILL serve the customer, even if he’s not your customer. Position yourself as a resource, and they’ll come back next time!

THEN, TRY THIS: consider your network of colleagues to whom you’d gladly refer client overflow. Whoever you think would be a good fit, send them a heads-up email or phone call first. Then offer their name to your prospect. Finally, follow up about a week later to see if it worked out. It’s good karma.

ULTIMATELY, REMEMBER THIS: when you forfeit new business to vouch for a colleague’s credibility, your credibility will increase as well. Clients will respect your discretion, honesty and generosity. And those characteristics will stay in their mind for the next time they (or someone else) needs you.

Because, as I learned from Seth Godin, even when you say no, you’re still marketing.

Do you build marketing in your no’s?

Share an example of how saying NO at one point … enabled a customer say YES at a future point.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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Make a name for yourself here…


You’re a creative professional.

That means you make a living off of your ideas.

SO, HERE’S THE BIG QUESTION: how do you deal with people stealing your material?

Tough issue. Has been for a long time.

Plagiarism comes from the Latin plagiare, meaning, “to kidnap.”

It’s defined as “the practice of claiming, or implying, original authorship or incorporating material from someone else’s written or creative work, in whole or in part, into one’s own without adequate acknowledgment.” (From Wikipedia.)

Because idea piracy is such a big issue, here’s a list of seven potential solutions to deal with it:

1. Take legal action. This is an expensive, frustrating and timely pursuit. However, it could pay off in a BIG way if you win. Not to mention, become a deterrent for future offenders. HINT: ask more experienced creative professionals (or lawyers) if you have a case first.

2. Catch it early. You can’t control your online image. You can only monitor and participate IN it. That’s where Google Alerts come in handy. And if you’re tracking the right search terms, you’ll be the first to know when someone is stealing your material. Do you know every time someone is talking about you?

3. Kill ‘em with friendliness. Sometimes “stealing” and “using” isn’t the same thing. Still, it’s your job to find out. For example, last year my Google Alerts informed me that someone WAS using one of my taglines. So, I found they guy’s email, dropped him a line and cordially asked him to stop using my registered trademark. He was totally respectful and apologetic. He had no idea! So, if this happens to you, be friendly first. No need to get nasty or defensive.

4. Karma. Be honest with yourself: have YOU ever stolen someone else’s material? Just something to think about.

5. Protect thy content. On your blog or website, include a piracy notice or reprint policy. Tell visitors they are welcome to use your material if they:

a. Email you to ask for permission
b. Give you full credit with your specified BIO
c. Send you a copy or a link for the inclusion

Most people will respect this, especially if you drop Creative Commons on them.

REMEMBER: people respond to policies.

6. Validate. OK, let’s say someone DOES steal your material. Ask yourself three questions:

a. Will this person’s dishonesty, unoriginality and lack of creativity cause their execution of the idea to fizzle anyway?
b.Is this SUCH a minor incident that I shouldn’t even bother worrying about?
c. Is there really anything I can even do about it?

REMEMBER: Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” Eventually, most thieves get caught.

7. Let it go. The nature of the Internet makes it VERY easy for people to steal material. The question is: how concerned are you?

Creativity Guru Lee Silber says, “Very few people have the intent, ability, follow-through or malice to steal your ideas. Don’t let this fear hold you back. Do what you can to protect yourself and your ideas, and then go out and spread the word.”

So, this isn’t about naivety, this is about reality. Is it really worth losing z’s about? And is it a problem or a predicament?

Those seven approaches notwithstanding, here’s my answer to the idea-stealing issue

The best way to block a punch … no be there.

Those were the words of Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid II.

IN OTHER WORDS: if you don’t want people stealing your material and using your ideas, make them unstealable.

Create and position your material in a manner that is SO unique to you, your brand and your voice … that nobody COULD steal it.

And if they did, people would know it.

That’s what I would do.

Ultimately, whichever approach you choose, just know this: idea piracy DOES happen.

Your challenge as a creative professional is to create a plan that effectively and efficiently deals with it when it does.

And, if you’re one of those unfortunate artists who DOES get her ideas kidnapped, remember this old scripture: (I learned this from my high school English teacher)

“And let us not be wearing in well doing: for in due season we shall reap a harvest if we faint not.”

Because at the end of the creative day…

People who steal ideas are cowards.
People who steal ideas are unoriginal.
People who steal ideas are uncreative.
People who steal ideas are going to get caught.
People who steal ideas are not going to sustain themselves.

So, don’t let it get you down. Piracy is flattery.

After all, if your idea was so good that somebody wanted to steal it, maybe that should tell you something 😉

How do you prevent and/or deal with idea pirates?

Share your best piracy story here, along with how you handled it.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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The importance of having a HOT body

The most successful artists, innovators, entrepreneurs and inventors of the world aren’t One Hit Wonders.

Rather: they have HOT bodies.

…of WORK, that is.

Let’s explore five examples across several disciplines and decades.

(Keep your eyes open for commonalities…)

When you think of the word “inventor,” one name comes to mind: Thomas Edison.

Talk about a HOT body! He holds about 1,800 patents. It’s also no surprise that his archives amount to 3500 notebooks and four million pages.

LESSON LEARNED: writing is the basis of all wealth.

Linus Pauling was an American quantum chemist and biochemist.

According to Wikipedia, Pauling is widely regarded as the premier chemist of the twentieth century. He pioneered the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry, and in 1954 was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work describing the nature of chemical bonds.

What’s more, Pauling is well known for his philosophy about having a HOT body. He once said, “The best way to have a great ideas is to having a lot of ideas!”

LESSON LEARNED: quantity leads to quality.

Julia Cameron, best known for her book and philosophy, The Artist’s Way, also has one HOT body.

She’s not just an author, either. Cameron works as an artist, poet, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, and composer.

In her book The Sound of Paper, she wrote, “Each day’s work is part of a larger body of work, and that body of work is the work of a lifetime. Unless we are able to take this long view, we will be derailed by rejection.”

LESSON LEARNED: think library, not book.

Mechanical inventor Jerome H. Lemelson was granted over 600 patents, making him one of the 20th century’s five most prolific patent grantees.

In the book Inventors at Work, author Kenneth Moore asked him what his favorite invention was. Lemelson replied, “My favorite invention is always the next one.”

“Sometimes you think you have exhausted your last idea,” he continued. “But you really have an endless stream of ideas in there. You just have to be willing to go in and look for them and bring them out to the light of day.”

LESSON LEARNED: always ask, “What’s next?”

Bluegrass Goddess Allison Krauss has one of the hottest bodies I’ve ever seen.

Her anthology includes dozens of albums, production on countless soundtracks and several live DVD’s. During her career so far (she started when she was 10) she has won twenty Grammy Awards – more than any other female artist in the world.

And she’s still under 40! Which means she’s constantly asking herself, “What’s next?”

LESSON LEARNED: it’s never too early to get started.

Five people.
Five different disciplines.
Five unique ways of delivering value.

And yet, three commonalities exist in each of their HOT bodies:

H – Have LOTS of ideas. Write mass quantities of content.
O – Open your mind’s floodgates. Let the ideas flow.
T – Think about what’s next. Keep a focused eye on the future.

Are you a One Hit Wonder, or are you developing a Body of Work?

Write the phrase, “Library, not book,” on a sticky note and post it on your desk. Look at it daily.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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Are you building a following?

Cult leaders.
Presidential candidates.
American Idol contestants.

What do all these people have in common?

They’re all building a following.

HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: so can you!

That’s the beauty (and ironically, sometimes the horror) of the Web: anyone with an idea can share it with the world and build a following around it. And they can do so quickly, powerfully and through a variety of media.

Unfortunately, the idea of “building a following” may sound too grandiose, too celebrity-ish and too impossible to the average businessperson.

“Who am I to build a following?” you think.
Wrong question.

Instead, ask yourself, “Am I being selfish with my knowledge?”

See, the dictionary defines a following as, “A group of people who admire or support somebody or something over a period of time.”

OK. Couple of key points in that definition:

FIRST: “A group of people.”
That doesn’t mean millions, thousands, or even hundreds. Don’t be intimidated by a false necessity to accumulate hordes of followers.

SECOND: “…admire or support…”
That doesn’t mean people are bowing down to you. Building a following isn’t about ego; it’s about shared values and mutual goals.

THIRD: “…somebody or something…”
That doesn’t mean it’s all about one person. It’s about an idea, a value, a movement, a cause and a vision.

FOURTH: “…over a period of time.”
That doesn’t mean you’re a fad, a trend, a hot topic or the new flavor of the month. You build a following one person at a time.

Actually, wait. That last point was wrong.

I shouldn’t have said, “one person at a time.”

I should have said, “one FAN at a time.”

Because that’s what building a following is about: loyalty.

Not just to you, but to the bigger idea.

So, if you want to get started (or continue) building a following, remember three key ideas:

1.Writing is the Basis of All Wealth
You can’t build a following around an idea if you haven’t first expanded, explored and clarified it on paper. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, penning your thoughts is the single greatest starting point for building a following.

ASK YOURSELF THIS: If everybody did exactly what I said, what would the world look like?

This question will help you build a template for your philosophy.

AND REMEMBER THIS: Guy Kawasaki, an author/entrepreneur with an incredible following said, “It’s impossible to build community around mediocre writing.”

The more you write, the quicker you uncover your unique VOICE.

2. Fanagement
You can’t build a following without fans. The challenge, then, is creating, maintaining and staying in front of them. Here a few suggestions:

*Ask for their email. The crux of permission marketing is to get your fans to opt-in. Be sure you’re regularly asking new people in person AND online. Now, while giving someone your email address is technically “free,” there’s still the concern of getting spammed. So, be certain people understand your intentions at the onset. Respect always wins.

*Consistently deliver a value message. Whether it’s through an ezine, podcast or blog, you MUST deliver value. Remind your fans WHY they follow you. Also, ask for their input, ideas, feedback and comments. REMEMBER: the more involved they are, the more ownership they take. The more ownership they take, the more people they tell. And the more people they tell, the bigger your following grows.

*Gratitude. Because a following is nothing with out followers, make sure you regularly remind them how much you value their loyalty.

3. Be Approachable
Lastly, members (and potential members) of your following MUST have access to you and your ideas. In order to project approachability, remember these ABC’s:

*Access. Make yourself accessible through several media, i.e., email, phone and instant messenger. See, each of your fans maintains a different communication style. So it’s valuable to offer them several contact options. REMEMBER: If someone can’t come up to you, how will they ever get behind you?

*Boundaries. On the flip side, set realistic expectations and personal policies for the accessibility of your time and information. Every “yes” to one thing is a “no” to another.

*Content. Since you’re writing regularly now (right?) you need to make your content accessible for reading, downloading and sharing. This is ESSENTIAL for building a following. Post your ideas on a blog, website, even on public article databases. (NOTE: if you’re concerned about piracy, relax. Just be sure to write in a voice that is SO unique to you, that you become SO identified with; that someone wouldn’t dare steal it. And if he did, people would know it.)

THE BOTTOM LINE: building a following is not an easy task.

It doesn’t happen overnight.
It doesn’t happen without work.
It doesn’t happen without consistency.


If you regularly deliver value through writing…
If you create a fanagement system for your followers…
If you maintain approachability within your own boundaries…

Then you WILL create a group of people who admire or support you and your ideas.

Even if you’re not a cult leader.

Are you building a following?

Share your best Fanagement Techniques here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you a friend of The Nametag Network?

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How to convince yourself that you actually have a real job

You’re self-employed.
You work out of your home.
You’re the only person at your company.

So, how do you convince yourself that you actually have a real job?

Good question.

As a Professional Fake Employee for the past five years, I’ve discovered many secrets for doing so. Let’s take a look at eight “GETS” for self-employed success:

GET UP! An hour earlier. Doing so will instill a sense of urgency and importance at the onset of your day.

GET DRESSED! After your shower, don’t crawl back into your PJ’s. Instead, dress as if you had an important meeting that day. Put on your business casual best, a three-piece suit or whatever works for you. Just remember, act as if you were the person you’re trying to become. By looking great, you’ll start to feel great.

GET OUT! Now that you look like you actually have a real job, grab your briefcase, laptop and other materials … and get out of the house. Announce to your spouse, kids, sweetie or pets, “Well, I’m off to work!”

GET A SPOT! Of course, you’re not actually going to work … yet. But, by getting up an hour earlier than usual, you’ve earned some “prep” time. So, head over to your local coffee shop. Settle down with a drink and perhaps some breakfast.

Do not read the newspaper. It’s negative, it’s crap.

Instead, use this time as your Daily Appointment with Yourself. Read positive materials, review your goals and affirmations, listen to positive music, meditate, whatever works to set the stage for your day.

GET CRACKIN! Now that you look and feel important, it’s time to “officially” start work. Leave the coffee shop and head over to the office, aka, your living room. Take a look at your goals, tasks, appointments and to-do’s for the day. Get started on whatever is most urgent.

GET VERBIAGE! As you email clients and talk on the phone with prospects, watch your words.

*Don’t say, “I’ll be at home all day.” Instead, say, “I’ll be in the office till five.”
*Don’t say, “My policy is…” Instead, say, “My company policy is.”

There’s a big difference! Also, be careful how you use the Royal We. The point of verbiage is not to refer to yourself or your job in a misleading way. Instead, challenge yourself to reframe your verbiage in an honest, authentic tone that convinces both you AND your clients that’s you’re not actually running a business in your parents’ basement while two annoying dogs yap at the mailman all day. (Hypothetically)

GET COLLEAGUES! Unfortunately, words like “coworkers” and “fellow employees” don’t exist in your self-employed vocabulary. So, focus on establishing relationships with colleagues. Find like-minded professionals who work similar Fake Jobs in similar Fake Industries as you. Force yourself to get out of the house at least three times a week for lunches, brainstorming sessions or lead sharing meetings.

GET SUPPLIES! Just because you’re the sole employee at your company and spend most of your days sitting in a La-Z-Boy recliner in your underwear, checking email via Wifi while you watch Sportscenter and play fetch with your Cocker Spaniel named Ginger (hypothetically), that doesn’t mean you can’t project a professional image.

Equip yourself with the necessary supplies: stationary, PO box, a dedicated office and fax line and an email account that isn’t ( or NOTE: an unprofessional email is the first dead giveaway of someone who doesn’t have a real job!

All kidding aside, these eight “GETS” of self-employed success revolve around one key idea: attitude.

Not because “attitude is everything,” but because attitude underscore everything.

Ultimately, your challenge is to think, act and present yourself in a way consistent with the person you’re striving to become.

Because eventually – if you maintain the right attitude – you will actually become that person!

And that’s the best way to convince yourself that you actually have a real job.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a Cocker Spaniel waiting to play fetch with me.

How do you convince yourself that you actually have a real job?

Share your self-employed secrets here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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Are you the echo or the origin?

There are no cover bands in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Because cover bands are imitations.

Copies. Replicas. Fakes. Designer imposters.

In other words, echoes.

An echo is defined as a “repetition or close imitation.”

And if you take a quick look around, you’ll notice a WHOLE lot of companies, products, people and ideas are just that – echoes.

FIRST EXAMPLE: in the mid 90’s when David Spade was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live, he did a great bit on Weekend Update called “Hollywood Minute.”

My favorite episode from the 1994-95 season featured a picture of grunge rockers Stone Temple Pilots.

Spade’s punch line was, “Yeah, these guys were great the FIRST time I saw them … when they were called Pearl Jam.”

The audience howled!

See, Spade was suggesting that STP was the echo, not the origin. (Don’t get me wrong – I loved STP.)

But this isn’t just about music.

This is about being first.
This is about being unique.
This is about finding your voice.

And it goes for books, movies, products, companies, ideas and services.

SECOND EXAMPLE: a few weeks ago I was flying home to St. Louis after giving a speech in Orlando. The flight attendant took the passengers through the usual preflight routine.

Here’s what she said:

o “If you haven’t ridden in a place since 1957, this handy little tool is called a ‘seatbelt!’”

o “If the person next to you starts freaking out, please don’t be alarmed…”

o “In the event of a water landing, don’t forget to grab your Speedos and bikinis along with your seat cushion!”

The entire plane was laughing. Passengers actually gave her a round of applause after she was done!

NOW, HERE’S MY QUESTION: what airline do you think it was?

(Think of your answer before reading on.)

Most people would guess Southwest Airlines, as they are well known for their fun, casual and mundane-to-memorable customer service.

But it was actually US Airways.

Didn’t see that coming, did you?

Of course not! After all, Southwest was the first airline to actually make their preflight announcements fun.

Which makes them the origin.

But over the years, other airlines (namely, US Airways) have made the connection between Southwest’s philosophy and their profits … and copied their fun announcement idea.

Which makes them the echo.

And that creates a problem.

Because just like in music, the echo is never quite as beautiful, never quite as cool, and never quite as effective as the origin.

To find out which one you are, take The David Spade Test:

STEP 1: Think about a specific idea, product or service your company offers.

STEP 2: Next, imagine David Spade (in his typical wise-ass form), was parodying your company on Saturday Night Live.

STEP 3: Ask yourself, “Who or what would the cynic compare us to?” Imagine how Spade might insert your product or idea into one of the following punch lines:

1. “Yeah, it was great the first time I went there, when it was called…”
2. “Yeah, it was great the first time I bought it, when it was called a…”
3. “Yeah, those guys were great the first time I hired them, when they were called…”

The goal is to come up with nothing.

To find no possible way someone could jokingly compare you to a competitor.

To be the only one who does what you do.

Because if you’re just an echo, you won’t be around very long.

REMEMBER: there are no cover bands in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Are you the echo or the origin?

Complete this exercise and figure out what David Spade would say about you. Then brainstorm arguments as to why he’s wrong.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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