25 or so years ago, a prestigious design magazine held a competition; They asked famous graphic designers to create a poster about themselves.
Needless to say, most of the winning responses were beautifully designed examples of the designers' egos run amuck.
All but one.
My friend Michael Bierut's poster was a simple accumulation of business cards of all the people in his life that allowed him to be him. That is, it was a collection of cards from his barber, his yard guy, his mechanic, his pool service, his air conditioner repairman, his plumber, his dentist, his tailor, and so on.
Besides winning the coveted competition, it won my highest praise for graphic design: “DAMN!! I wish I had thought of that.”
Sitting around thinking about how to deal with business during today's Coronavirus outbreak, my mind flashed back to Michael's poster that I saw a quarter century ago. And while I don't remember exactly what the poster said (it was at least 25-years ago, after all) I do remember what a brilliant concept it was. Mostly, I remember how simply it demonstrated that we are able to do what we do because other people do what they do for us.
If you're reading and watching the news (and who isn't watching the news 24/7 these days?) you're hearing about plans to rescue businesses, restart the economy, and try to get things back the way they were before Coronavirus brought our financial system to a screeching halt. Pretty soon words like “economic recovery,” “recession,” and “trillion dollars” are rolling of your tongue and into your conversations like they're words you use every day.
But how about the people you depend on every day?
If you have small children bouncing of the walls at home, all of a sudden you realize what a contribution your kids' elementary school teachers make to your own peace of mind.
If you've been to your physician's office or the hospital, or have loved ones who have, it doesn't take long before you figure out just how important nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians' assistants are to your continued health.
If the Coronavirus pandemic has kept you from being able to visit your hairdresser for a few weeks, maybe your silver roots or shaggy hair (I resemble that remark!) will remind you how important those artists are to your own self-image.
Isn't interesting how so many of the people who make such important contributions to our lives – nurses, teachers, firemen, police officers, personal trainers, gardeners, hairdressers, wait staff, delivery drivers, cooks, grocery store checkout staff, and so on – are also some of the lowest paid workers on the employment org. chart?
If you are lucky enough to still have a paying job, or to have money in the bank, maybe now is the chance for you to show your appreciation for those who do so much for you.
Why not prepay for the next two years of your haircuts and manicures?
How about drastically increasing the amount you tip delivery drivers and restaurant staff?
If you go to an independent mechanic, why not prepay a couple of oil changes?
These small efforts, paying for things you're going to buy anyway, can both help someone out of a bind and let them know just how much they mean to you.
And for the people in our lives who still have jobs but go to work and show their bravery and commitment every day – doctors, nurses, teachers, mail carriers, and so on – why not make it a point to let them know how much you appreciate what they do for you every day?
Who do you have to take care of to show how great your brand is?