You Can’t Be For Everybody

By Patrick McNerthney

Recently a freelance client called me “quirky” right to my face. It wasn’t an accusation or criticism, nope.  It just slipped out mid-sentence when we were renegotiating our professional arrangement. In fact, I don’t think he even noticed—but it hit me like a bolt of lightning. 

“Why,” you ask? 

Because I don’t think I’m remotely “quirky.” 

In fact, he may as well have called me “purple,” “polka-dotted,” or “lettuce!”THAT’S how wrong I believe he was.

“No, no my freelance client friend, you have no idea what quirky is…”

I ASPIRE to be quirky. Currently, I barely scratch the surface of “quirky.” My level of quirky-ness correlates directly with where I want to be in my career, and as far as I’m concerned, I have quite the quirky pinnacle to climb.

(Somewhere up there lies the weirdness I aspire to.)

But it all makes sense. To this guy, I’m quirky because he’s all about business-y stuff (as he should be): ROI (return on investment in case you didn’t know), taxes, market share, revenue growth, and other things that clients and other grown-ups tend to worry about. 

So when I talk about how the subtle change that happens when a rapper emphasizes the last syllable instead of the first, in a series of words, and how it’s all DEEPLY intentional to produce a sound that stands out from the crowd while creating a new meaning for our language, and how we could employ the same tactic in our blog posts to get more engagement…Mr. Client is all like, “Ah, yeah, sure, okay. But we’re not writing rap lyrics here. And I don’t want to risk alienating our customers by sounding…so…WEIRD. C’mon, all I’m trying to do is sell out my hotel for Memorial Day Weekend.”

Ah yes, Mr. Client. God forbid you sound different, quirky, weird, make a ruckus, or put a stake in the ground to represent what you stand for. Or wait, you just did—you just stood up for the mediocre middle. A.k.a. don’t make waves, don’t upset the cart…in fact, BE for EVERYONE—‘cause if you’re acceptable to EVERYONE, EVERYONE will like you (and spend their money with you and buy your product, rent your room, watch your movies… you get the gist…)

(Yep, all these people like exactly the same stuff right? Marketing is so easy!)

Except, the world doesn’t exactly work that way now does it? People must see themselves in your product, service, or idea before they’ll buy it. For example, that’s why some people buy Teslas, others gigantic Ford F-350 trucks, and still others, minivans—THEY SEE THEMSELVES IN ONE THOSE VEHICLES—THEY DECIDE ONE OF THOSE VEHICLE IS “FOR THEM.” And if we don’t respect this notion and customize the message so it connects with a very specific person, guess what? 

Nothing happens. 

So put a stake in the ground. Talk about what you stand for. Be “quirky,” “weird,” and make a “ruckus.” ALIENATE somebody. Because the people you seek to serve will be eternally grateful that you took the time and effort to point out what you DO, is specifically for THEM.

Over to you. Undoubtedly you struggle to find better ways to care for the elderly, children with challenges, or anyone needing assistance with life’s seemingly routine tasks as they battle the anxiety and depression that comes with social isolation. (Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this). That’s why it’s important for you to understand that Fine Art Miracles (FAM) is FOR YOU

By now you know creative expression—that act of simply making—activates parts of the brain where feelings of confidence, self-worth, mastery, agency, joy, and relevance to the outside world reside. So when your residents or loved ones participate in Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Drumming Exercise Therapy, Drama Therapy, Art 2 Go Packages (this month is Charley Harper Birds!) or any other FAM programs—they realize they MATTER to their family, friends, community, and to themselves. 

Which is the perfect—if not the sole—antidote to social isolation. And sure, there are some people out there who will never believe this or won’t think it’s worth a try, but is that YOU

(I don’t think so.)

So what are you waiting for? Give FAM a call or drop them a note, they’re happy to help!

Well, I gotta get back to convincing my client to NOT do what his competitors are doing—which is tough sledding. Ah well, I’m going to show him some rap lyrics anyway. Oh the heck with it, maybe instead of showing him the lyrics I’ll just blast the song at full volume, donn my best funky duds and do the dance, all during our meeting—now THAT would be “quirky.” 



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