What I Learned About Your Chances for Success From 125,000 Grammar School Kids

from: Leah Komaiko When I got my first branding consult 25 years ago, it was because I was the author of my first and bestselling book for kids. I saw an exciting connection between an iconic brand and a kids story and got the CEO at one of those brands to listen and take a chance. Since then, I have had the privilege of working with many brands, publishing  more kids books and being a guest speaker for roughly 125,000 kids in schools across America.

Think school assemblies with anywhere from 50 to 300 kids in a room at a time; usually all sitting on a gym floor, excited to meet a “real author” or at least to be sprung from class for 45 minutes.

While I never planned these visits to be research study, when it came time for kids to raise their hands if they wanted to speak; across the board and the country (except for in Alaska), the stats ran like clockwork. The higher the grade level, the lower the hands would come up. Seems the fear of expressing themselves openly as they got older had taken over.  It just wasn’t cool. By the 6th grade? Crickets.

And then there were the “choose me” children.  Always that small gang of arms shooting up with enough force for lift off from their sockets; such sweet faces flushed on the brink of a 9 year old stroke pleading, “Choose Me!  Choose Me!”

Thing was, it was tough to pick out one of them. Because in mass, doing and saying the same thing, none of them could stand out at all. But the sweetest? They didn't know that.

So flash forward to this morning when I'm glazing over my e-mail sea of all the same sounding pleading sales offers and I had a flashback to the “choose me kids!”  And I wondered, what happened to them?  What happens to us?

If by the sixth grade, we too unknowingly forfeit our precious enthusiasm for expressing what’s is ours uniquely and only to offer; is “choose me” today really the best and coolest we've got?

Is that all there is?  In my experience working with big and small loved brands, not even close.

You have so much more to compete with for attracting your clients, customers and readers with than “choose me!”  Even if the agreed upon formula today by all is, "this works."  Face it. You have to have a multi million dollar marketing budget to yell “choose me” the loudest.  For the rest of us it’s starting the conversation your audience doesn’t even know yet they are longing to hear.

That's your real brand.  That's you. Grade 4.

I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading.