Last week, I took my family to the Late Renoir exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and smiled at Renoir’s description of his work as “simplicity bordering on severity,” thinking that the notion of Bulldog Simplicity has been around for a long time. Then yesterday, I was cleaning out some files and came across an Apple ad in the New York Times from September 29, 1997. A former co-worker had sent it to me with a note, “I thought of you.”
As I’ve struggled with communicating a brand that carries with it a certain ability to turn off some prospective clients, both the Renoir quote and this ad seem to capture a certain attitude I’ve carried throughout my career. Perhaps more important, the ad feels like a “call to action” to be remarkable. And to be aggressive about communicating what differentiates you from the pack.
I’m not going to try to recreate the layout, but here is the copy (the italics are mine):
To the crazy ones.
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify them or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written. Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people. Because while some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
And it’s the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, who actually do.
The point is, I see a lot of LinkedIn profiles, a lot of blogs, and a lot of websites that fail to capture — or celebrate — what makes someone special. Perhaps it is fear that being different as a first impression will cost them chances with a new client or employer. I have to admit I’m guilty of that at times, and I’m spending time taking another look at some of my materials.
When was the last time you revisited your public persona? Are you communicating the person you are or you think people want you to be?
Side note: If you feel you need help beefing up your branding materials, please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to this page on my website.