Who Nose the Story?
Ten years into the great depression, the year is 1939, Bob looks across his shabby two room apartment at his wife lying on the couch; the same place she has been fighting terminal cancer for the last two years. His mind drifts towards the endless growing pit of medical bills that he cannot afford. Life is one day at a time. From across the room his little girl Barbara May, bounces onto his lap. Her innocent eyes peer into his;
“Daddy,” she asked, “Why isn’t my Mommy just like everybody else’s mommy?”
Robert L. May is no stranger to being different, growing up, he was much smaller than his peers, so for most of his childhood he too found himself left out and made fun of. These experiences and, his latest charge from his employer, Montgomery Ward, to write their 1939 children’s Christmas giveaway book, all culminated at this moment. Barbara put her head on her daddy’s shoulder and he began to tell this story that he would later write for Montgomery Ward:
“Once upon a time there was a reindeer named Rudolph — the only reindeer in the whole world that had a big, red nose. Naturally, people called him Rudolph, the Red – Nosed Reindeer.” You know the rest of the story…
In life most of us spend countless hours and dollars trying to fit in. We try to be like everyone else. We forget that it is those little key, and sometimes big differences, that truly set us apart. They make us beautiful, unique and special. In business, that difference is equally important. History has shown over and over that in times of recession this difference becomes even more critical. Customers are yearning for good value, a clear compelling reason to spend their hard earned dollars. In these tough times if every “apple” looks the same, customers always pick the cheapest one. Yet, in spite of hundreds of years of research and recorded history, an article from the November, 2008 issue of Profit Magazine further emphasizes this point. It states that only 7 out of 3000 chief executives were able to communicate a meaningful point of differentiation!
2011 is the time to effectively communicate what makes you different. The year is not about big advertising budgets and flashy marketing campaigns – its about having a clear understanding of your difference and communicating it effectively, one person at time. What is your story?……… Oh, yes, and lets not forget that kind hearted father, Robert L May, who wrote the classic Christmas story of the courageous little reindeer, with the glowing nose leading hundreds of thousands of children (and adults) to that destination of the celebration of what makes us different.
Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!