What A Brown Envelope Taught Me About Not Blending In

I got in from work the other day and saw a brown envelope half pushed through the door. The leaflets and junk mail that I receive every day went straight to the recycling bin (as they always do), but I held on to this one. The envelope had no name on it, no stamp. It was clear it been hand-delivered but to nobody in particular. I presumed it would be from local builders or something along those lines, but when I opened the envelope, what I found was a brightly coloured leaflet, similar to those I had just discarded moments ago.

Not much of a story to write home about, granted. But this brown envelope got me to thinking…

Daring To Be Different: Lessons From An Envelope

It’s a saying you hear often, but how much attention do you give it? Well for anyone working in PR, Marketing, Advertising or similar, these words should be gospel.

A book I’m reading at the moment, The Choice Factory, argues that you have only a few seconds to grasp somebody’s attention with promotional content before you lose them. It took me more than that to open the brown envelop that landed on my doormat, so the company who sent it ticked that box straight away.


Though the flyer inside the envelope was not too dissimilar from the others that I received that day, the chain of events that led me to view it meant that it really stood out to me. And as such, I gave it a read, realised that in the future I might well use ‘Carpet Clean Direct‘ services and kept the leaflet in a safe place to refer back to.

That right there is the power of being different, people.

It doesn’t take much to stand out, to not follow suit with every other competitor in your market. I don’t know if the intentions of the company who pushed that brown envelope through my door that day were to grasp my attention in the way that it did. I guess I’ll never know. But whether deliberate or not, the concept is still the exact same.


Sounds silly, but that brown envelope has really challenged the way I think about PR and marketing. Sticking to what you know and what works can be a dangerous game to play, as what works now may not work forever. The best ideas are birthed from creativity, from people challenging the norm and being unafraid to be daring and different. Though that’s probably a remarkable overstatement when referring to the brown envelope pushed through my letterbox, the basic principle is the same.

From testing out different things on social media, to changing the way we pitch to journalists – there’s all things we can do differently in comms. No matter which section we fall into. It’s something I knew was vital already, but the thought process that the Carpet Clean Direct’s flyer sparked in my mind has only reinforced just how much of an impact being different can bring about. They grasped my attention for seconds longer than the other leaflets pushed through my door that day, and that was really all that I needed.

Don’t follow suit, be different. You never know where being offbeat can take you and your brand.

What do you think? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments below.


1 thought on “What A Brown Envelope Taught Me About Not Blending In”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s