When there is something big to shout about, we shout. If there is imminent danger, we scream. If there's something good that turns up in our lives we turn up the volume and become the town crier. I recently found a new social network, for instance, and it rocked so hard that I became a total town crier. Oh-yay! Oh-yay! Oh-yay! Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye! A new social media tavern has opened in ye olde webbe of ye worlde. However... in general... is that a good plan?
Short term it works. For instance, that network I mentioned has an affiliate deal attached, and doing my town crier bit built me a downline of 2,899 people in 7 weeks (it's 7 weeks today, actually). Didn't spend a bean on ads either. So, yes, it works. But, long-term you need more than just a bell and a fun hat (if you're not getting the town crier reference, I wrote a blog post on it).
When your alarm bell first goes off, it wakes you up. If it's a new alarm/ring tone it wakes you up right away. Your brain registers that something loud and unusual is happening and delivers consciousness on the double. However, once you've got used to that alarm... the snooze button can become your friend. Eventually, you could swear blind the alarm isn't actually going off at all. Maybe it's faulty. In fact, you're switching it off in your sleep. This happens in marketing.
Unless you have something extra cool to give after the alarm bell, like tea or something, people switch you off. They hit 'snooze'.
This doesn't just happen with marketing. It happens with politics, drama, and religion too.
Some people have a mode of communication that is built around the alarm. They can hit the alarm, wake people up, and keep them awake. Or woke. You tune in specifically for the rants. They're the coffee that gets you up and ready for the day. You lean in for the 'wake up to yourself' lectures. They work. You know what you're getting and you subscribe for it. Heck, I do that myself at times, but not all the time. At other times I choose the dawn chorus approach. More on that in a minute.
What's the downside of the alarm approach? It only works with people who've specifically asked for it. If people know that's your medicine, and they've asked you to administer it (which sometimes happens to me with coaching clients, for instance) it's a great approach. Otherwise, you risk not meeting people where they are.
Spiritually, for instance, I know a ton of people who have a no quibble approach to religion. Their way or the highway. All conversions all the time. That's their path. That's not my path. I stand on the edges of things and pull them together. I stitch patchwork quilts of philosophy, business, spirituality, relationships... all of it.
The alarm bell works on some people, but others aren't just asleep. They're in a coma. An alarm won't work on them. They need time to find their own path in their own way.
If you've ever been in the countryside, and awake for the dawn chorus, you'll know how beautiful it is. The volume rises with the melodies, as the sun also rises, while birds sing in the new day. This is how nature designed our wake up call. If you approach your message in a similar way, it meets people where they are: in darkness that is becoming lighter, and sings them with a sense of importance rather than just urgency into the light. This can be spiritually or it can be in business or any other area. Sing your song consistently, and you meet people where they are. Be the dawn chorus and the rising sun combined, and you awaken others to truths they were not previously open to hearing.
Sometimes, yes, be the alarm. However, more often be the dawn chorus.
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