Never Be Normal

28 May 2020
never be normal
As the country starts on the long road of recovery from the impact of CoronaVirus, I keep reading about a “new normal”. I’m not sure what it’s going to entail, and I can only imagine the ball-ache (and added expense) for a lot of businesses, but it did set me down a rabbit hole called “normal”.

Normal            adjective

conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

Every business* I’ve had contact with over the years and every business person I’ve ever met is not “normal”. They are not identikits of each other, even in the most boring of sectors.

My accountant – I buy him.
My solicitor – I buy him.

I assume they are good at what they do (for my budget), but it’s the person I am buying into, the way the conversation goes when we meet: the chit, the chat, and their very own personal brand.

By making a noun out of an adjective (which humans tend to do to create order), we once again find ourselves generalising inside our little heads.

Let’s do “normal” = let’s follow what other people are doing.

It’s been like that since the dawn of time in marketing but seems to be getting worse with marketers getting instant access to other marketers campaigns online. We saw it in spades during the lock-down; the same trite messaging, which started as intriguing (because it was new), but got very dull very quickly as more people did it.

Hey, look at us doing something good for Key Workers.

Hey, look at us having a Zoom meeting.

Hey, here's a special offer if you work for the NHS.

But now, more than ever, businesses need to think abnormally.

Abnormally            adverb

In a manner that deviates from what is normal or usual; irregularly or extraordinarily.

Easier to do when you’re a well-known company with built-up brand equity, but I’d argue that this approach is not out of bounds for any company.

To take stock and celebrate the differences rather than trying to conform. To focus marketing messages in a way that will make some people ignore (or even dislike) you, but, will engage the people who matter with gusto.

It’s a fallacy to think that everyone could be your customer, so why pander and dilute what you say? Fuck ’em.

Stop trying to be normal. You’re not.

* It goes without saying that there are different levels of normal. You wouldn’t want your dentist to be too maverick for instance.