The Story Economy Blog

Issue 2: Why your business needs you to be a diva

My brothers and sisters (and even my own mother!) have sometimes accused me of being a diva. I know it’s their way of teasing me because I’m the youngest (of 7!), and I didn’t have to share bathwater or a bedroom.

Yes, it’s true that by the time I came around, the rules were a little more lax, and I got a little more than my brothers and sisters. But that’s hardly the stuff of divas. I mean, the only entourage I have consists of a 3-year-old and 1-year-old (and they are in no way concerned with my needs). I’ve never once made a ridiculous demand about what brand of water my fridge must be stocked with, and my closet is the size of a baby pea.

So, I am in no way a diva.

Except that I sort of am. If, by diva, you mean a person with preferences. I do have ideas what I think is great and important and wonderful (and what I think is lousy and full of crud).

And so should you. Especially when it comes to your business, and more specifically, your web site. Not only should you have preferences, you should verbalize them—loudly. Your gut instinct about what’s awesome and what’s not, about which clients you want to work with, and about what makes your service or product different: that should all come through in your messaging, starting with your home page. That means that nothing about your home page should be boring—because you’re not boring, right?

Taking a stand about something — in words — can feel scary (“Oh god, what if I’m wrong?”). Seth Godin talks about this in Purple Cow, where he points out that being safe (boring) is actually is a lot MORE risky than taking a stand and being remarkable. He writes: “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” And to sell your stuff (your services, ideas, or products), you need to be anything but invisible.

I read a great story in the New York Times yesterday about long-time style icon Iris Apfel, who, at 90, is now selling on HSN. She is my new hero, both because of her unapologetic signature style (one look at her giant owl glasses and you get it), and her attitude. My favorite quote from her is this: “When you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else.”

You know what else? When your web site copy isn’t like everyone else’s you don’t have to do business like everyone else.

 So go ahead, be a diva.

Be the designer who unapologetically evangelizes good design, the therapist who believes every single person has the power to heal themselves, or the finance guru refuses to budge one inch on the idea that good money management is the real key to success.

Me? I’m the person who takes a stand about stories. As in, if you’re not telling one, all you have are words—and words without the shape of a story are a dead end. Go ahead and disagree—it’s okay. But just remember that I said it.

So, what do you want people to remember about your business? And, more importantly, is it on your web site?


  • Mary Fletcher Jones

    Posted by Mary Fletcher Jones on 09/06/11 11:21am

    I definitely took a chance in a conservative town with my brand and website. I wanted people to remember that my PR & marketing solutions were creative and affordable. Everyone else here goes for "connected" or "tech" My partner really disliked that take. He thought it made my small biz look cheap. But I wanted to be accessible.

    People don't seem to remember the "affordable" part but I do get mentions of being "fun" in my recommendations. I never thought of myself as a fun person, or having a fun business, but hey, I'll take it. It differentiates me from the pack and people remember me.

    Viva la diva! :)

    • admin

      Posted by admin on 09/06/11 1:10pm

      Mary, that's a great example. "Fun" can be a huge differential. Thanks for sharing!
      -- Judi

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    Posted by GuestRoogyZH on 03/27/17 10:49am

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