What happens when you see a Hot Air Balloon outside?
You stop and go “Look at that!”, you go grab your loved ones and a camera to capture the moment.
That’s the response you wish people had every time you put out work you’re proud of right?
So let me show you why Hot Air Balloons attract attention every flight, and what you should learn from their system.
When you’re not attractive, you’re ugly
My wife casually mentioned to me months ago that she would love to take a flight in a hot air balloon.
I wrote this down, and then booked it to celebrate her birthday – sometimes I score husband points.
On our way there we drove past a man on the side of the road selling things on a small table. It caught my wife’s attention for a second because it wasn’t kids with lemonade.
It was a grown man. With toilet paper, paper towels, and water bottles – not in a cooler.
While we spent the next few minutes in the car talking about the experience – 100% of the conversation was about how odd it was and speculating as to why he was actually outside.
We never planned to turn back and get any answers, much less buy something from him.
When you’re attractive, you attract
Only two hours later, my wife and I had taken to the skies in a hot air balloon. I wanted to savor every moment, so I was snapping photos, hugging my wife, and enjoying the view all around us.
Then my wife noticed how all the dogs of the neighborhoods below seemed to be barking. She was surprised at how we could hear them from so far away.
It wasn’t much later that we realized, every time the pilot fired up the engine, we were getting the attention of neighborhood dogs or children. It was barely minutes later before families were coming outside, yelling hi, and waving to us.
We waved back, remarking with surprise at how everyone seemed to love us because of the balloon.
We enjoyed the attention for literally over an hour, to the point that it got ridiculous – we could do no wrong.
Upon landing, our balloon landed and destroyed a section of fence in a farm. Our pilot remarked casually that he’d probably have to pay for the fence, and everyone was happy that there was no major damage or injury to anyone.
As expected, the owner of the property came outside shortly thereafter. All of us passengers in the balloon held our breath, awaiting the conversation where the pilot would have to apologize, talk the owner down, and pay for the fence.
But that didn’t happen.
“Oh, don’t worry about it! I’m just glad everybody is safe!” the property owner said. They not only had extra fence pieces, but it’s also not every day a hot air balloon lands in your property! It’s, in fact, a great story!
How this attraction works
So do these stories, at face value, seem very obvious? Probably.
But have you ever thought about how you’ve actually got more in common with the weird toilet paper/paper towel man than a hot air balloon?
So how do you fix that? Let’s work through it.
- Be unique and special
This is literal. You don’t see a man on the side of the road selling TP or a hot air balloon in the sky every day do you?
So you’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t present something that’s a little unique. You don’t have to take it so far that it’s never been seen before, but it does need a little factor of “Oh hey! Look at that!”. After all, you do know what a hot air balloon is but you’d still go look at it, right?
So make sure there’s a little something special behind what you’re doing. Here’s a simple two-step way to figure out if what you’re working on is interesting:
1) Make sure you’re excited about it first
2) Show it to a friend or acquaintance who will give you an honest opinion, and see if they react remotely positively. They do not have to be overjoyed.
- You need to make a little noise
The difference between the initial attention the man selling TP attracted versus the hot air balloon was (again, literally) this – the man was odd, the balloon made noise.
While being odd and perplexing is only a bad thing depending on context – you can see how it might be more difficult to twist it into a good thing than simply making some noise.
The balloon, on the other hand, attracted attention by firing off its engine. The flames made a lot of noise, disturbing the neighborhood pets. First, a homeowner is pissed their dog is barking, and are then pleasantly greeted by a giant balloon in the sky. Suddenly, they forget they were mad in the first place.
Making noise is the fun part. This is where you have the liberty to be creative if you want to! Most people (including myself) simply take this as the opportunity to post on social media. But you know those crazy marketing campaigns that get your attention because they’re so out there? That’s making serious noise.
Just remember that you’re not only allowed to talk about the thing you’re working on to get some attention – you need to. Your hope is at least to inform your clients, and have them so excited that they’ll tell all of their friends.
- Bring some joy to your customer’s situation
In the right situation, toilet paper can bring one joy. The most likely place for that isn’t the side of the road.
However, as riders, we got the chance to love every minute of being in the balloon. Those on the ground got great residual vibes as well – at the minimum it was a great story to tell from their afternoon. It could also have been a moment of inspiration where one spouse tells another that they want to take a hot air balloon ride.
This even extended to the people’s fence we broke. They cared very little, being surprised by the story they now had. I also wouldn’t be surprised if a comp balloon ride was mentioned – which could’ve lead to attention by word-of-mouth.
Don’t be creepy, be awesome
Take some time today and think about what you do and how you present it to others.
Are you providing something that might be good, but it’s usually in the completely wrong context and you get awkward weird responses? Or no response at all?
Test yourself – find a friend and make sure what you’re doing is actually worth spending your time on. If it isn’t, challenge yourself and find something that is!
Once you get there, then share it and ask others to share it too! When you’re excited about something you’ve made and a few others are too, you end up actually providing joy to even more people!
If you’ve got any more ways to grab people’s attention and keep it – send me a message! @adamtcroft
Copyright 2016-2017, Adam T. Croft, all rights reserved.