Many years ago I worked in an office of law enforcement personnel and they were some of the biggest pranksters I’ve ever met. We had running competitions to see who could out prank each other. Here are my top 10 office pranks from those days, just in time for April Fool’s Day! If you tell anyone where you got them, I’ll have to hurt ya!
10. My world is upside down! Turn everything in your boss’s office upside down, and rearrange it in the same place that it was.
9. “Stolen car!” If someone in the office has a small car such as a Prius, MiniCooper or VW, a few people might be able to lift it up or push it to another place in the parking lot. Lots of hilarious laughter as they look for their stolen car. (Note: watch out, some people get really mad!)
8. Mail a letter to China. This works if your assistant’s middle name is gullible. Find a company that has a local and a Chinese office. Print out the address to the Chinese office, written in Chinese. Give your assistant a letter to send to the person in China. Make sure you tell your assistant to transcribe the Chinese letters perfectly so the post office in China can read the address.
7. Just in time. Change all the clocks in the office to be one hour ahead or one hour behind. To make this work, you’ve got to get the phones and computers too!
6. It had to be you! Replace artwork on office walls with “Wanted Posters” of the boss. Bonus if you happen to work an office where portraits are hung instead. Replace the faces with those of your coworkers. Write captions.
5. Car for sale. List an office worker’s car for sale in the classified section of Craigslist or one of the car buyer magazines. Make sure you use their phone number.
4. Fake food. If you feel creative make people cookies out of a recipe for dog biscuits. Funny thing is, your coworkers might not know the difference!!
3. Eeek a mouse!! Put lifelike rubber mice, bugs or snakes in the desk drawers or kitchen drawers. Bonus points if your victim jumps up on a chair!
2. What’s wrong with the phone? Put clear tape the telephone. There are lots of ways you can do this. Tape the mouthpiece so that the caller doesn’t hear them, or put tape on the earpiece so they can’t hear the caller. Another good one if you have the right type of phone is to tape down the clicker on the receiver so instead of receiving the call when the handset is picked up, the phone continues to ring and ring.
1. Is it snowing? This is my favorite office prank. Collect the dots from the three-hole punch. Put them in a container and hang them over a door. When the person opens the door, the dots fall all over him or her, and all over the floor. For added fun, put dots in drawers, dots in files, dots in briefcases and anywhere where they have a good chance of falling out and making a big mess!
The other day I was at a networking meeting with about 30 entrepreneurs and our guest speaker was a “marketing” person who spent about 30 minutes telling us about how much of an expert they were. Then they handed out their brochure. There were obvious misspellings, no white space, and no graphics. It looked like it had been put together by a third grader. Their business cards were obviously made on a home computer as well as their website. All of this left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a lump in my stomach. I was sorely disappointed, and even though I liked the person, I decided I wouldn’t be doing business with them because this person was so obviously not the expert they said they were.
Have you experienced this too? Perhaps it was you? There was a time when that person was me. But I’ve realized that if I’m going to be in business, I’ve got to do it right because everything I do and say, communicate the truth about my brand to my prospects and customers, and the saying is really true; “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.”
Branding is all about your first impressions and is experienced by all five of our senses! It’s about the story that invokes feelings of hope, the image that excites our imagination, the sound that leaves us asking for more, and even the textural feeling of the quality of your workmanship.
Bust mostly, in order for a brand to work, it’s got to touch our heart, mind and soul. You’ve got to show customers that you’re different, that you care about them!
Here are some things that speak loud and clear to your customers about how much you care.
- Logo and Graphics, quality, homemade, or professional.
- Web and Blog Design
- Business cards, brochures.
- You, your environment, your employees, the service they provide, the way that they look and speak.
- The message and the meaning.
- The smell, and the flavor of your brand, product and experience.
- Your authenticity
If you want to create buzz for your business, all of these areas have to be in alignment! You can’t say one thing, and then be, do, look, and act another. People will do business with you because they like you one time, but if you aren’t everything you promise, chances are highly likely that they won’t come back!
So what do you do? Poll some of your clients or friends about their perceptions regarding your business and brand. Ask questions like:
- What is the best experience you’ve had while working with me?
- Is there an experience that could have been better?
- How does my company, brand, website, etc. compare with other companies that do the same thing?
- What would make you absolutely thrilled with the service I provide?
- How can I improve?
- What am I doing well?
- How does my company look? Smell? Feel?
You should also be on top of what your competitors are doing. Talk to their clients, and check out their services. How do you compare.
Customers have a lot of choices. S0 as business owners, our number one goal of marketing is to communicate to customers why they should choose us, which is what branding is all about.
So make sure that your branding matches your buzz, or it won’t be long that your buzz will match your branding.