Do you know what makes you unique? As an advertising professional I am always looking for the things that make brands and people stand out. In marketing, we call this a Unique Selling Proposition. A USP helps a brand, product or service stand apart from the competition in a meaningfully way. At The Weaponry, we help our clients discover and amplify their USP. Sometimes it is obvious. Other times we have to dig. Sometimes we dig to China.
I love discovering the USP in humans too. Everyone is special in his or her own way. I remember being told this many times in my preschool and elementary school days. I believed it. While other kids may have had to do some soul-searching or head scratching to discover what made them special, I knew.
I am one of four children of Robert and Jill (Sprau) Albrecht. My parents got married 4 days before the 1960’s expired. They had my older sister, Heather, 17 months after that. Two years later they had their next child. Their first and only son. Me. Now, when I say I was born two years later, I mean it. My older sister and I have the same birthday.
My parents then slowed their roll, and waited almost 3 years to have my younger sister, Alison. Two years after that, our family caboose arrived. We named my baby sister, Donielle. (note to SpellCheck, AutoCorrect and Starbucks baristas: it is Donielle, with an ‘o’)
To recap: my older sister, Heather, and I have the same birthday, 2 years apart. My two younger sisters, Alison and Donielle, have the same birthday, 2 years apart. Heather and I were born May 25th. Alison and Donielle were born May 22nd. Which means my parents had 4 kids, on two days, just 3 days apart.
That’s pretty unique.
When telling new friends about our birthdays my parents would always conclude the story with:
…So we always say, “No more vacations in August!”
This always generated a huge laugh from the adults in the room. I’m a quick study. So when I would meet a new friend and tell them my origin story, I would always end it just like my parents did. I remember being at a sleepover and telling my friend’s parents this story, with the standard Albrecht-Family punchline. But as a 7-year old, I didn’t get big laughter. I made parents’ jaws drop. I got a look that even a 7-year-old could read as, ‘That is NOT an appropriate things to say. You won’t be playing with our Johnny again.’
But I had no idea what I was saying. In fact, it wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I ever bothered to count back the 9 months from May to get some insight on the baby-making. And there it was. August. My parents made me and my 3 sisters in August. Apparently, while on vacation. Which is gross. And TMI. That’s why it wasn’t a cool thing for a 7-year old to say. Suddenly, all those horrified reactions made sense. They thought I knew something that clearly I did not.
My family’s unique birthday story has always made me feel special. I now recognize that there are a handful of other things that make me special too. I can make a loud popping sound with my jaw. I may have the flattest feet on earth. I can make a pun out of any word you throw my way. But my birthday story always makes me feel like I was special from day 1. If you are giving birth to a business, brand, product or service, be sure to create it to be special from the start. Then you’ll have as much fun telling your story as I have telling mine.
Today kicks off the Albrecht Family Birthweek. The biggest week of the year in the Albrecht family. Happy birthday today to my sisters Alison and Donielle, who are both in Houston. Happy be-earlied birthday to my sister Heather in Saint Paul. I love all 3 of you more than footy pajamas, ice cream in a can and roller coasters. You make me proud to be your only bro. And you make me thankful for vacations in August.