A Shaved Head and Bad Bleach

My Marketing Lesson from Middle School

The summer before my last year of Middle School, I decided to shave my head and then bleach my hair.  My less than enthusiastic parents were unwilling to sponsor this new endeavor, so I was left to find the cheapest solution on my own.  With the help of a friend, I found some hair-bleaching product at our local grocery store.  The product came with a few tools to help us in our mad endeavor: plastic gloves, a special comb, etc.  We then went to work, mixing bleach through our hair and then waiting the appropriate time to see how we looked.  Needless to say, our heads came out leopard-spotted orange, glowing like miniature suns.

I am a little bit older now, and I would never shave my head or bleach my hair on a whim again.  I consider my 13-year old self, and I wonder why I ever did anything so odd.  Was I just bored, or was I trying to fulfill some unmet need?  The answer is that I was looking for attention, to stand out from the crowd.

This innate desire is built in all of us, and it takes time to learn how to understand and master it.  Unfortunately, many of us work so hard to fit in, mature, and grow out of our teenage years that we end up looking like cookie cut middle age boring adults.  When this happens we do not stand out and we are not memorable.

Now, I am not advising a spontaneous appointment with your barber.  Rather, find positive ways to capture others’ attention.  You can do this for yourself and for your company.  In a world where the average person sees over 3,000 ads a day, you have to stand out to be memorable.  Do you remember those crazy things you did as a teenager?  Capture a little bit of that independent spirit and make your organization stand out.  Whether you are changing your company’s tagline or overhauling the way you present your business to your friends, being different can be daunting.  Do not be afraid, because even though you will make mistakes, you will learn from them.  When you stand out from the crowd, you will gain a powerful perspective that only the bravest of men and women ever see.

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