How to get noticed in a noisy world

We live in a noisy info-overloaded world.

Shouting at people about what you do (with traditional, bland, mass-advertising for instance) doesn’t work very well any more.

Unless you have Tesco’s marketing budget, you better find a way to stand out and be memorable – to do something differently enough to jar your prospective clients or customers into noticing you, remembering you, and talking about you.

You can do this even in the small things that you do.

Sometimes just choosing a superbly apt and memorable name for what you offer can make all the difference. If you can make people laugh, or shock them with a frank or unconventional choice, you’ve got their attention long enough to find out more about you. And you improve your chances that they’ll remember you when an opportunity comes up to use you or recommend you.

Here’s a nice example from someone I met at my monthly Scanners Night event recently. (And a very appropriate one when we had just heard Marianne Cantwell’s superb talk on “How to stand out from the crowd”).

Rachel Rose Reid is a professional storyteller and she has a very appropriate and yet original business card. The front is a picture of Rachel in mid-storytelling. The back of the card is what really struck me. Here it is:

Rachel Rose Reid

Rachel’s business card is a story.

The result of daring to do something a little bit different with a piece of card that’s 2 inches by 3 inches is that it stuck in my mind. Oh and I also wrote a blog post and brought it to the attention of 1000s of people.

What might happen if you did something to stand out? Every day, people who dare to do something differently get interviewed, blogged and tweeted to 1000s of people.

The key to getting this right is to know the difference between a creative twist like Rachel’s card and a pointless gimmick. A gimmick attracts attention for a moment but has little to do with who you are and what you do.

A creative twist not only attracts attention but also tells us more about you. It represents your difference, rather just being different for the sake of it. Oh and of course, that means what you actually do or sell has to be remarkable too.

What have you done differently? Let me know

Have you got a great creative twist you want to share? Leave a comment and let me know what it is – leave links if appropriate – and if I see something I really like, I might tweet it or blog about it.

Struggling to find what’s different about you?

It’s there somewhere. Sometimes it takes a little digging – and a lot of bravery – to find it and show it off in a memorable way.

Clients on my 1 to 1 business makeover get my personal help on this.

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  • Hi John

    I sent stuff off to publishers for years with no luck. So I started thinking about marketing and various tactics to make mine stand out from the pile of submissions on the agents’ floors. Firstly I changed the spelling of my name Stephen to Stevyn (Cornish version) so that it jumped off the page. Once you get a book deal you can always revert! Secondly, I sent a synopsis and chapter to several celebs who I thought would like the style. I had two high profile people reply kindly and asked if I could use quotes from theor emails to promote my MS. they agreed. Five agents wanted to speak to me immediately.I landed an agent and a book deal shortly after.

    A good proposal helps too. But you’ll rarely sell a book just with a proposal. Remember that you’re selling YOU to the agent as well. Your letter should be intriguing and powerful enough to get them to want to meet you.Once they do, you have the best chance of explaining your vision and project.


  • Unfortunately I always seem to be noticed and recognised for the wrong reasons.
    My blog @ and my latest novel, which is no doubt currently lining the bins in literary agents’ offices all over the UK, are about facing the trials of getting older in a light hearted manner. What’s the point in being downhearted about it? We are a generation of ‘Baby Gloomers’ who need something to cheer us up, or at least have a good complain about.
    Suitable for anyone who feel that sometimes they are just getting older.
    I’d love you to tweet me to fame.
    Thank you.

  • When a college and myself eventually get to the point of creating our garden maintenance business it will be called ‘Dug & Peat’ after its founders Doug and Pete.

  • This is superb Stevyn – and I know who gave you the quote so all the more impressive!

  • I like it!

  • I am beginning a personal health and development business, offering therapies and workshops. I use cards and posters which say “Sleep with me … Nicola King, Clinical Hypnotherapist”. It does seem to catch the eye and has led to some … Er … Interesting conversations!

  • Hi John,

    Three weeks ago I visited the World Travel Market. Although we sent all information very timely the printing company didn’t deliver our business cards so I had to go there without business cards – at first I though it is a disaster, but in the end it turned out to be the best thing. I had prepared also a promotional material which was an offer designed and folded to look like a letter. When I approached companies on the trade show I gave them this “letter” and told that this is our smallest business card. Most of the people smiled and reacted very positively. It also acted as a sort of ice-breaker and conversation starter.

    I believe that humour is still the best weapon. It doesn’t have to be something shocking – it has to be original. Easier said than done – I agree, yet I believe that every one of us is capable of creating something funny and original.


  • Ha! I like it. Send me a picture if you have one and I might tweet it…

  • Great post John. You got me thinking…

  • When we started our business 12 yrs ago we decided we would not have a boring name “Something Solutions” “Something Technology” but one which made people ask “what is it that you do?” (we are a design business) and one which they don’t forget so we chose Naughty Mutt Ltd after our puppy Fred.
    We have a great logo – Fred the Naughty Mutt and on my pretty magenta and grey business card my title is ‘Head of Getting Things Done’ and we state “We love happy clients’ – this sticks in people’s minds too as it makes them smile – always a good hook.
    We must challenge the flat line of people’s thoughts.

    Link to card:

  • I love this Carla! “Head of getting things done” is particularly nice.

  • I’m not sure if this is a creative twist but I’ve read your book and decided that I was going to use it as a guide to help me change the way I run my business.

    I’ve completely re-vamped it so that I work the way I want to and with whom I choose to. and I’m getting great results.
    I have one off sessions after potential clients submit their issues and answer 13 powerful questions. The Personal Power Re-Ignitions Sessions are making ME come alive.

    I’ve even taken the liberty of starting my own group based on your model. It’s called Inspiration Junction and we are heading for our 3rd successfull meet-up in Hastings. You can read about it here.

    All I can say is thank you for the book that’s changed my business and my life –
    See you at Scanners soon

    Jennifer Beaumont-Whyte x