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Are You Easy to 'Tame' in the Eyes of the Public? Lessons From Foxes, Cormorants and Water.

Remember the AIDA principle?
AIDA is an acronym which stands for 'attention, interest, desire, action'.
CN Tower and Toronto Skyline at Twilight-2008
It was coined by  E.K. Strong  in an article he wrote in 1925 called "Theories of Selling"~ Journal of Applied Psychology.  

Although AIDA was defined in 1925, it's premises hold as true today as they did back then.

We have but split seconds to capture someone's attention and establish a further connnection to them. This is what we should be aiming for in all of our marketing and in the way we carry ourselves in our day to day interactions with those around us.

Oftentimes that tiny different thing about us that stands out above the rest, is enough to set the ball in motion and can be the difference between success and failure.

We read and hear so much about branding these days, and yet, how many of us really even know what it is about us that is unique and different?

Have we asked our peers, our family and our friends?
Have we done a self-assessment to see just what it is about us that others notice and remember? We just may end up very surprised.

The past few years, numerous people, without my asking, have mentioned my gentle and unassuming ways as being something they most notice about me.

Pondering on this, I realized that a person does not have to be loud or extraverted or pushy to leave a lasting impression. Sometimes being gentle and softspoken or caring leaves just as strong of an impression on people.

cignet-Port Credit marinaThose qualities or attributes that we find others often mentioning about us, are the ones we need to capitalize on and market.

They point the way to our brand and our uniqueness. That which is noticed by others is our trademark and should be honed to a fine degree and capitalized on through our marketing.

When you are comfortable in your own skin, you carry yourself with a greater degree of confidence and inner strength which those around you will be drawn to.

Just like in the old story, don't strive to be a duck, if you've been born a swan, even if you are in the midst of thousands of ducks and no other swan in sight.

You will never be a duck, and once you accept that and focus on who you are and the benefits of being you, the way will be revealed to you and you will travel down the path with greater ease and

In  'The Little Prince' by Antoine de Saint Exupery, the little prince meets up with a fox who teaches him how 'establishing ties' with someone or something, can make that someone or something special so that it will stand out amongst thousands of others just like it, because of the special connection between the two of you.
The fox calls this 'taming' someone or something.
maple leaf-september belleville ontario
For instance, I have a beautiful sugar maple tree outside my window that to the casual observer looks just like hundreds of other sugar maples in my city, however to me it is special.

I would recognize this maple tree anywhere because I have observed the many changes it has gone through as it has grown and with the changing seasons.

I've taken note of the special place on it's trunk where it bears a small scar on it's bark from a vehicle that once hit it and I've observed it's rustling branches a thousand times or more.

To me, this maple tree is very special and I often call it 'my' maple tree, since it shades my west facing windows from the hot afternoon sun.

So it is with the people around us who we have special relationships or ties with.
We see their unique beauty and specialness, because they are 'tame' to us and we have established special ties to them.

If you wish to be remembered by people who meet you or come across your website or blog, you must stand out in some special way to get them to pause. Once you've captured their attention, hold onto it.

The tiniest fractions of what sets us apart from others are often the determiners of how well we will be remembered by those who come across us personally, or through a marketing venue.
Never doubt for a moment that you are unique in very special ways that no one damselfly on rose leaf-Corby Park-Belleville Ontarioelse is and this tiny bit of uniqueness, will help you succeed in all you undertake.

This principle is beautifully illustrated, using water, in Sam Parker's highly inspirational film 212 The Extra Degree Movie.
For an uplifting start (or finish) to your day, be sure to watch this short film.

(Update: Sam emailed me today~Sept 22/08~ and in his email he mentioned that he now has a newer version of the video available.
It's faster moving and I really enjoyed watching it, even moreso than the first!! Sam also mentioned that this newer version is 212 seconds long, completely by accident!
I think the universe is trying to tell us something here.

BTW, Sam Parker is a very commendable guy and all business owners, leaders of any organizations and heads of households should be sure to check out his 212° The Extra Degree  program and book. Magnificent and amazing...with great results when applied to all things in life.
Thanks Sam!)

I think about a lot of things and this thinking goes on constantly, even when I'm sleeping.
Many people have told me that I think 'too much'.
Possibly, however the way my brain works, I really don't have a concept of 'thinking too much', because it is who I am.

One of the things I think about, quite a bit actually, is cormorants. This may be because I'm a zoologist, or it may be because I believe the greatest lessons in life are to be found by observing the natural world that surrounds us.

Cormorants, for those who aren't familiar with them, are a fairly large dark bird found in many areas of the world near water bodies. They are divers who live on fish.

In the Quinte region, cormorants are very common.
In fact, they are so common, that a few years ago at Presqui'le, there was a controlled kill (an oxymoron, if I've ever heard one) of cormorants as the commercial fishermen were complaining that the cormorants were too numerous and were taking too many of 'their' fish.
I still haven't quite figured out why it is that humans figure everything put here on earth has been put here exclusively for their use, but that's a post for another day.

Getting back to cormorants, they are odd looking birds. Their dark and craggy appearance gives them an ominous look and they certainly aren't one of the prettiest bCormorant -Bay of Quinte-Belleville Ontarioirds out there.

They are usually found in groups sitting on breakwalls and rocks surrounded by water.
One cormorant looks pretty much like the next; at least that's what I've always observed until I came across this guy a few weeks ago.

He stood out from all of the other birds who were lounging on the rocks that day and because of this, I snapped his picture.

He is now one of the better known cormorants in the entire Quinte region, perhaps in the entire world.

Were this cormorant to have a name and a business card, just imagine how successful he would be by recognition alone!

I watched him for a long time, and noticed he didn't bother to fold his wings back in like the others during the time period I was there.
For whatever reason he was holding his wings out this way, he managed to create a lasting impression on me and using the fox's analogy in The Little Prince, this cormorant is now 'tame' to me.

His 'extra degree' of uniqueness caused him to stand out amongst scores of other cormorants that day, and his image to be burned in the mind's eye of the hundreds of humans who read this blog.

Being noticed and remembered is the goal of all marketing, no matter the venue.

The basic principles of marketing and branding are older than mankind himself and those who pause to observe the elements of nature will find a rich source of ideas that, when applied to their own business branding and marketing, will help them to achieve their goals to a remarkable degree.



Photos in this article are the Copyright of JoSmith and may be used with her permission.




Jo-Anne Smith, the author of this article, is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group-Quantum Realty Inc., Brokerage, in Oakville, Ontario and welcomes your real estate inquiries. To contact her, visit

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Comment balloon 38 commentsJo-Anne Smith • September 20 2008 10:55AM
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