shake it if you got it and other ways to make your business stand out Stephanie Ward

To stand out and be remembered you have to do something different, something unexpected.

And it doesn’t have to be something big.

It can also be a few little things that surprise and enchant people.

Unexpectedness is one of the six principles of sticky ideas from Dan & Chip Heath’s book, Made to Stick.

In the book they state, “The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern.” Click to Tweet

They go on to say, “Unexpected ideas are more likely to stick because surprise makes us pay attention and think. That extra attention and thinking sears unexpected events into our memories.”

Here are two fabulous examples to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. 

Example #1: Target

I got an invoice from Target (image above) and on the back of the invoice a headline says: “Shake it if you got it” followed by this text:

“Sometimes you just can’t help but break out in a Happy Dance when you receive an order that you really, really like (c‘mon, nobody’s looking.) So, we went ahead and provided the actual instructions-in case you need a refresher. However, if you’re not totally overjoyed with your purchase, we want to know. Please tell us why at”

And under the text there is an illustration of how to do the dance. Brilliant, an invoice that makes you smile (and include it in a blog post).

Example #2: Derek Sivers – CD Baby

Another example is something Derek Sivers did many years ago with his company at the time, CD Baby. He replaced the usual (boring) shipping confirmation letter with this one:

“Customer name- Thanks for your order with CD Baby! 

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing. 

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved Bon Voyage! to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, October 7, 2009. 

We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as Customer of the Year. We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Sigh

We miss you already. We’ll be right here at, patiently awaiting your return. 

CD Baby The little store with the best new independent music. [email protected] (503)595-3000”

Benefits of Doing Something Unexpected

  • Makes you, and your business, more memorable 
  • People will talk about you and your business
  • Sets you apart from your competitors 
  • Let’s you express your unique personality and connect with people

Ideas You Can Use in Your Business 

  • If you’re a speaker, instead of the standard introduction create something suprising
  • Write something intriguing on your invoices (quotes, poems, recipes) 
  • Create some fun auto-responder emails to send out after people sign up for your ezine
  • Send a small gift with a personal note in the mail to new clients 
  • Make your out of office reply more personal and fun

Be careful not to come across as gimmicky, it should be fun yet heartfelt. 

I hope you’re starting to think of ideas you can use in your business to provide unexpected moments that will delight your tribe.

It’s your business, let your originality and creativity shine through. It’s fun and it’s good for your bottom line.

© Stephanie Ward

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, BLOG OR WEBSITE? You can, as long as you include this information with it: Stephanie Ward is the Marketing Coach for Entrepreneurs who want to create meaningful and prosperous businesses. Grab your FREE copy of the special report ’7 Steps to Attract More Clients in Less Time’ plus business building tips, at:

What unexpected things have you done in your business? Please share your thoughts and questions below in the comments section.


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