When Texas realtor Ellis Young wasn’t getting any traction on one of his home listings, he changed the For Sale sign to include the phrase “NOT HAUNTED.” Traffic immediately picked up, but some neighbors complained. Wanting to play nice with others, he then changed the sign to read “GLUTEN-FREE HOME.” As you can imagine, traffic increased and Ellis received tons of free exposure and publicity from his creative approach to signs.
When a heating and cooling company wanted to capture attention, they ran a large billboard proclaiming, “Your Wife is Hot”. Under the provocative headline, the ad continued “Better get the A/C fixed,” along with the company’s name and number. Air Asia’s offer of low cost flights could have been lost in the noise if they didn’t create a large red sign that boldly said, “Cheap enough to say, Phuket I’ll go.”
These creative and humorous signs communicate a message, cut through the clutter, and leave an impact on the desired audience. We can all relate to funny marketing signs, but we often overlook the signs we send to others in our professional lives. When a colleague stops by to ask for advice, do you send the sign that you are fully engaged by focusing on them in the moment and actively listening? Or do you send the sign that they aren’t important or that you’re scattered as you hastily check your phone, email, and Twitter feed instead of engaging intently?
We often run into traps when we say one thing, but demonstrate something else. If a boss demands attention to detail, yet sends emails riddled with spelling errors, the desired outcomes are superseded by the demonstrated actions.
If you desperately call a potential client to ask and plead for a deal, you’re subconsciously sending the sign of desperation. When a customer walks into your retail showroom to find it disorganized, messy, and dirty, it’s a sign that you care very little about aesthetics and design.
Setting consistent, deliberate and, ideally, creative signs can be your own sign of progress and growth. Your actions, surroundings, communication, responsiveness, style, and beliefs are all signs that can be carefully designs or left to happenstance. They are also a wonderful platform for innovation and creativity. Own the signs and the messages you send, and you’ll unlock fresh possibility.
Sign in. Sign on. Sign creatively. These are the signs of success.