The big brother lived with his little brother, his mom, and his grandma.
They lived in an apartment, with an entrance that looked like the one on Sesame Street. Today I understand that meant this fractured family lived in an inner city, somewhere. When I first fell in love with this book, I just thought it was cool.
I have no idea what that children’s book was called, or who the author was, but I will gladly pay a bunch of money to the used bookstore I find one day that has a dusty copy sitting on a shelf. I always imagine it will be low down, forgotten, near the back.
There are a lot of booksellers out there I still have to visit. It was a brilliant story. If I remember it, so do other people who were once upon a time in grade 2.
Connecting people who have with people who want.
People who need help with those that know how. This is the dance of every single small business.
Service or product, any small business exists to serve. If they do it right, they thrive. Their business thrives, their community grows, people have jobs and little Johnny gets a new pair of shoes.
Some don’t thrive, they survive. Squeaking by year after year. The owner owns a job, and not much more.
I believe the tragedy is when it’s a great idea of a business, the owner is beyond passionate… But Not enough people know. Even worse, they know but can’t imagine themselves needing it and walking in that door to Get It. So even, one day, when they finally actually need that perfect local business holding on by fingernails of faith, they don’t think of it. It doesn’t pop into their heads. They ask their friends, coworkers, and spouses, “Who should I call for…..Where should I go to buy….” And no one knows about the shop around the corner.
All of us are potential customers, looking for something.
When we wander into a shop, call a company for help, or scroll past cat videos that make us laugh out loud, there is something we are looking for. A need or a want…. there is always something.
“Can I help you?” asks the shopkeep.
“No thank you, just looking.”
That happens every time someone drives by your location, even if that location is on their screen and not on the road in front of them. We drive by in a lot of different ways.
The pictures in that book were beautiful, glossy prints of canvas paintings with bold colorful strokes – there was a texture to the faces and the furniture – the granma’s smile – that carried the simple plot beyond the words. I could feel that big brother’s heart all the way through the story, completely connected to mine.
The pictures told me he was black and that made no difference – he was completely my twin brother.
This little guy (my age, but still, I thought of him as little) had realized he did not have his own room. Granma explained that he and his little brother shared the couch and the one bedroom belonged to her and mom. But – all was not lost, he could have his own corner.
Well, that was grand. He picked a corner and fixed it up beautifully with Granma’s help. A little plant, a crate, some drawings, and even a small turtle. His little brother kept annoyingly invading his sacred space… even though the wise Granma had bestowed corners on both boys.
The Grand Corner of the older brother simply could not be made perfect and wasn’t fun… And it should have been! Finally, the big brother realized – with Granma’s wisdom of course – that there could be no joy without the satisfaction of helping little brother create his own perfect corner.
I just loved that big brother. And the little brother. And that sage Granma. It was the building and the sharing and the creating that was the ultimate joy of having.
That is why I love advertising so much.
By connecting what your business is to a message and a campaign that people remember, you take a project and a job and turn it into something beautiful. Something brilliant. Something bigger than just a corner in your side of the room.
Because somewhere out there, someone has this… something, they keep looking for. Or a needed service that would make their life better.
They have money to buy it. But they don’t know who to call so it’s going to be a lot tougher to connect and do the dance.
Advertising is the invitation. There is no Best Before date and no expiry on the invite.
Let’s tell them to come when they are ready and need what you have for sale. We start by telling them the story of what you have, and why.
And it might not be what you think you are selling. The brothers got their very own corners, but Granma gave them much more than that.
I promise the process will make your corner feel exactly right and help you create the perfect corner for your customers. You will be just what they were looking for.
I know people who know how to help you do that.
The picture above, “Jonathon and His Mommy”, isn’t the book, but it’s the closest I’ve found… so far.