What is the easiest way to build a relationship with people who don’t actually buy from you?
A lady asked me to dance at the Toppled Bollard last night.
Afterwards she told me she quite liked the weird observations that move through what passes for my brain and which I report on my personal Facebook page on a daily basis.
"You are a human correspondence course in both dance and light entertainment," she said.
I thanked her profoundly, but felt moved to reply, "Actually I am feeling a bit restless and discontented just now,"
"What's wrong?" she asked.
“You mean apart from the fact that my grammar checker doesn’t think that ‘discontented’ is correct at that point, and that I should write ‘discontent’?” I asked.
She acknowledged that, yes, it was my state of mind rather than my ability to write English that was her prime concern at this moment.
"Oh, I suppose it is just that romance is dead and the unexpected no longer happens," I replied mournfully.
"You could always ask me for another dance," said she.
And as we danced one more time it struck me that sometimes the simplest things can give one a lift. I may spend all day sitting at my desk polishing off my latest book on how to write brilliant adverts (more details on that anon, assuming I do finish it this weekend) but sometimes all I need is a friendly word from a passing stranger.
Of course, this is difficult in advertising - for it raises the question, how can you ever make yourself a friend to a potential customer who doesn’t actually know you, and then go on to convince him/her to buy from you.
One answer, I suppose, is by writing friendly but rather weird little pieces to one’s customers each week - a bit like these Toppled Bollard rambles. I know many people find them mind-boringly awful (which is why after protests from my co-workers I now only send them out once a week on a Friday) but I did get a lot of lovely notes at Christmas telling me how much the bits of nonsense were welcomed.
Sometimes just being silly can separate oneself out from the crowd.