410.235.7070 Join Our E-Letter
businessGPS Taking You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Go.

Excuse me, but have you seen my zig lately?

Excuse me, but have you seen my zig lately?

April 12, 2012

I can't explain why but lately I've been getting the same question from more and more people.

They track me down at conferences. Or they meet me after one of my speeches and they all seem to be asking the same thing.

'Jon, I don't know where it is!' they often begin. 'I simply can't figure our what our Big Zig is and I'm really frustrated.'

They're obviously worried, and rightly so!

At most trade shows like this one, vendors try to grab people's attention with candy or iPad giveaways. Are you kidding? You spend thousands of dollars on exhibiting and try to grab someone's attention with Life-Savers!? I have a better way. Read on...

To be very clear, your Big Zig is something that will make you stand out from everyone else and boldly say, 'I'm not like the rest!' If everybody else is zagging you need to zig. It could be your brand. But it doesn't have to be, either. Simply put, it's anything that will help you grab the attention of prospects so they remember you. And the more dramatic, the better. In fact, those that have a Big Zig are 53% more likely to be successful, according to research.

But don't overthink it. In fact, I have several fun, effortless strategies that will actually help you create a Big Zig right now.

Last week was a zigfest.I have been on a speaking tour for the last few weeks. As such I always try to walk the show floors It's a great way to see how companies are trying to grab the attention of their prospects because if they're able to do it on the show floor they're also grabbing the attention of their prospects in the market place too. It's a nightmare for most, because everybody looks the same. Can you spell B-O-R-I-N-G.

You can not bore a person into buying no matter how hard you try. What do most exhibitors do? They put candy in a bowl and turn everybody into a thief.

Or, they offer a free iPad when you drop in your business card. Or they offer a tchotchke just to get someone to stop by their booth. Are you kidding me? You spend thousands of dollars on exhibitor fees, hotel rooms, plane tickets and meals at overpriced restaurants so you can get someone's attention with a stress ball or breath mints in a bowl?!

It's no wonder you complain about your leads!

This crazy-looking blue cane was one of the hottest items at a recent trade and is a great example of Big Zig. Why? Because it clearly demonstrated how the plastic molding company can create unique designs with its technology! Result: The plastic maker's booth was packed.

The key is to demonstrate a Big Zig, something dramatically different than your competitors that will make your prospects want to stop and find out more.

Take the crazy-looking, bright blue plastic cane that just about everyone walked around with at NPE2012, the plastics industry's annual convention. How many plastic molding companies do you think exhibited? Too many to count. But there was one that everyone knew by the end of the show ' thanks to their bright blue canes. Their booth was packed. Two molding machines, one booth empty one booth packed. The difference: A metaphor and free gift.

Why did this work? Because they created a Big Zig. They wanted to demonstrate how well they could mold plastic in a variety of shapes that could be custom fitted to wrap around objects and still keep its integrity. Instead of talking about it, they demonstrated it! They told me that although the canes were cheap to produce it took some real time, effort and resources to get ready for it. But wow, with a million square feet of show floor and thousands of competitors they were the ones everyone wanted to see.

Lesson #1: Demonstrate what makes your product or service unique with your Big Zig. Don't talk about it. Show it.

Although you may have no idea what a purging compound does, this ad does a terrific job of showing it by offering a comparison. It grabs your attention and tells the story!

Here's another example. ASA Clean produces purging compounds for thermoplastic injection molding machines and extruders. How boring is that! Right?

Well, there's no reason why you can't make it fun. Look, every Big Zig has to have a comparison. Either compare it to
a. Doing nothing
b. Doing it yourself
c. Doing it with a competitor

Take a look. You don't even need to know anything about thermoplastics or purging compounds, but the picture alone grabs your attention and tells the story. They created a metaphor that elegantly compares their product to their competitors. What metaphors can you use?

Another good example: Ever heard of bag anxiety? It's that feeling you get when you really want a plastic bag but feel guilty about asking for one. So the makers of plastic bags created a very funny video talking about how to overcome the fear of asking for plastic at the store. Show your warts, make fun of yourself or your industry. If you are a attorney make an attorney joke. They are already thinking it anyway so say it for them and control the story.

Lesson #2: Have fun with it! The more you can demonstrate your Big Zig in an entertaining way, the more likely you'll get prospects to pay attention ' and remember you.

Here's another great example of a Big Zig that grabs your attention by poking fun at itself. It's fun and it clearly sets the design firm apart from everyone else.

I love this next example. Web designers get a lot of strange requests. So the folks at Agency Fusion had some fun poking fun at themselves (and the web design industry) with a hilarious video that has generated more than 1.3 million views, called Make My Logo Bigger Cream.

Is your logo too small? No problem. Apply the Make My Logo Bigger Cream to it and watch it grow! LOL! Too much white space? Just spray on the White Space Eliminator!

And if your message on your website or in your marketing lacks feeling, you'll love (get this!) the Emotionator Cream. Just rub it on your computer screen or marketing material and you'll soon make an emotional connection with your audience.

The video has created so much attention that it's ranked #7 on Alexa's Movers and
Shakers list, it's #2 on Viral Friday's list of the top 5 most popular videos every week and it's obviously generating tons of free web traffic back to Agency Fusion.

Lesson #3: Be willing to make fun of yourself. Don't take yourself so seriously. Humble yourself a bit and have fun with it. Everyone loves self-deprecating humor.

Be bold and ask, what if? That's what the maker of this alarm clock did. And today it's sold on Amazon at Brookstone, Target and many other stores as hundreds of thousands of people chase their rolling alarm clocks in the mornings. LOL!

And dare to ask, 'what if?'

Some of the best ideas have come from ordinary people asking, 'What if?' What if we showed our unique ability to mold plastic by creating a crazy-looking cane? What if we showed how well our products clean like a guy trying to shave his legs? What if' we created a video poking fun at ourselves. And what if we created an alarm clock that would yell and run away from you as you chase it around the room?

You read that last one right. Clocky is the alarm clock created by an MIT graduate student who had a tough time getting up in the mornings after studying until late into the night. So she developed an alarm clock that rolls off the night stand when the alarm sounds and randomly rolls around on the floor forcing you to chase it around the room to shut it off. That will wake you up!

The student developed it just a few years ago, outsourced the manufacturing to a plant in China and Clocky is now being sold in Brookstone stores, Target, on eBay, Amazon and just anywhere else you can imagine.

There are thousands of alarm clocks. But there's only one with a Big Zig like Clocky!

So what can you do to create a Big Zig? Ask yourself these 4 questions:

1. How can we show what makes our product or service different by comparing it?
2. How can we have fun with it? How can we make it entertaining? What Metaphor will represent the problem and the solution that we solve?
3. How can we make fun of ourselves?
4. Lastly, 'What if?'

Try it. Don't overthink it. Remember, it doesn't have to be a great, big idea. Often it's the little things that make the biggest difference. You don't have to look beyond the oceans or the mountains. Most often, the best ideas are right in front of you.

But if you ignore it, you risk becoming just like everyone else, falling into oblivion handing out candy from a bowl hoping to strike up a conversation with your prospects.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon Goldman, President