It was incredible timing to wake up today to Seth’s blog post on “coming attractions.”

The key takeaway was this:

If someone insists on experiencing your experience before you give them the experience, it’s really unlikely you’re going to be able to delight them.

I say the timing was incredible because this comes the morning after episode 82 of This Week in Weddings aired, the episode where I chatted with Kimberly Rhodes and Annie Roche about how to bring clients along in the journey of creating truly custom work.

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See, I believe that in order to be noticed and remembered, you have to create a true moment of connection. In stationery, I encourage my clients to do that with a healthy dose of surprise and delight wrapped up in their personality.

Their stationery should clearly be theirs, even if their name doesn’t appear on it anywhere.

Your stationery is a proxy for you – for your relationship with your people. What does it say about you?

See, I’m pretty all-or-nothing with this stuff.

Take business cards for example.

Do you really need a business card in order to conduct business in the 21st century?

If you live in Japan, I’d say definitely. Elsewhere? Not so much.

So, if it’s unnecessary, why do we still do it? If it’s because you think you’re supposed to, quit wasting your money and stop buying them.

BUT…

If you still buy business cards because you want your contacts to remember you, consider this: how memorable is your card?

If your goal is truly to be noticed and remembered – to get someone to think of you after you’re gone – that takes real effort.

And the effort to extract from you what your ideal client relationship looks like and distill it into printed form, approximately 3.5″ x 2″, takes a lot of work.

That’s what you invest in.

Sure, the production costs something, but to get a business card (or wedding invitation or letterhead) that truly represents you takes more than fancy design and smooshy letterpress.

It takes art and skill and craft. It takes emotional work on your part and mine.

That’s why my clients invest in the concept with a retainer. Because that’s where the magic is. The rest is execution.

And all of the cool combinations of process and technique and materials in the world don’t mean a thing if they don’t represent you.

  • So, you want a copper wedding invitation? Why?
  • You want a geode cake? What does it have to do with you?
  • You want acrylic business cards? What does it say about your business?

When you invest up front and keep an open mind, that’s when you get the chance to experience true delight.

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