Written by Mary De Luca, VP of Interact Communications
Not surprisingly, over the past several weeks of quarantine, I’ve found myself digging through bins and boxes that haven’t seen the light of day for some time. No doubt many of you can relate, as you’ve also surrounded yourself with items of yesteryear in an attempt to tidy up Marie Kondo-style.
While doing so, I’ve enjoyed both laugh-out-loud and tear-jerking moments unpacking the drawings, notes, and cards my kids—now grown but stuck at home—made for me over the years. Many of these items once had top billing on my kitchen fridge. They were cleared and stashed away when we remodeled our kitchen and upgraded to the clean slate of a stainless-steel model.
Rediscovering them made me nostalgic for those days when my kids couldn’t wait to bestow upon me their latest creation. And I was just as eager to display it amidst the potpourri of love bursting across my fridge. These discoveries also reminded me of how lucky I am to still have my mom, who, back in the 70s, decorated her groovy, avocado-green fridge with my childhood handicrafts.
Today, as I reflect on my mom’s fridge and my own mom fridge, I realize there’s a whole lot of wisdom baked into this domestic hub of “bragable” art. Seriously, there’s something to learn from the psychology of Mom’s fridge that can shape our work today.
So, what makes something worthy of Mom’s fridge? If it fits any of these 5 characteristics, your work is likely up for consideration. If you manage to check off all 5 characteristics with one piece, you’ve struck the motherload!
5 characteristics that will make your work worthy of Mom’s fridge:
1. It’s authentic.
Even if you didn’t hand it to her, would your mom know it came from you? Does it capture your voice? Your work should speak with that same level of authenticity. Your audience shouldn’t have to guess who filmed, designed, or posted it. They should recognize immediately that it came from you.
2. It’s personal.
Would your mom know it’s meant for her, even it doesn’t say “For Mom”? Does it speak to her? Does it feature something she likes or enjoys? Your work should be just as personal. It should resonate and make your audience feel special, like you created or produced it solely with their needs and interests in mind. They should feel like you really get them.
3. It’s thoughtful.
Does it look like whatever you gave her last year? Or worse, does it resemble whatever your less creative sibling gave her? All kidding aside, you definitely want it to stand out from the clutter of restaurant menus, to-do lists, and appointment reminders competing for attention. But standing out isn’t enough. It’s about being thoughtful. Are you taking the time and making the effort to come up with an idea that excites, or are you operating on autopilot mode? Your audience deserves to be wowed or to experience an “ah-ha” moment. And, frankly, so do you!
4. It’s practical (and sustainable).
Will it fit on a door panel without having to clear away everything else your mom has collected? Can a magnet hold it in place? Or will it get in the way and fall off each time someone pulls the handle and encounters your fussy or unmanageable piece of art? Being creative for the sake of creativity doesn’t work well when you’re answering a need. Think about how your audience will use—and, hopefully, reuse—what you’re creating. Mom’s fridge deserves work that is both helpful and green.
5. It’s joyful.
Does it make your mom smile? Does it brighten her day? Perhaps she even has to stifle a laugh? These days, finding ways to lighten someone’s load and bring them cheer can make all the difference. Do your word choices evoke the right emotion? Are you striking the right chord with your color, type, and music selections? People are starving for hope, inspiration, and levity. You can gift them these much-needed moments when you approach your work with a sense of pride and joy.
I hope this gives you a new way to measure your work from the perspective of how worthy it is for Mom’s fridge. At the very least, perhaps you have a new or renewed appreciation for the unconditional praise you once received upon that essential piece of kitchen real estate.
Here at Interact, one of our core values for clients is to ensure that “Our work is worthy of Mom’s fridge.” There’s no need to be bashful about your college’s amazing marketing. We want you to be proud. We want to brag with Mom.
From all of us at Interact, happy Mother’s Day to all the hard-working moms we are proud to support from coast to coast! Go on now, get your brag on!
About Mary De Luca
With 30 years of community college experience, Mary DeLuca comes to Interact eager to share her creative skills and strategic insights with other two-year college professionals. Mary developed a nationally respected communications department and successful college brand from the ground up during her leadership tenure at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) in Maryland. While producing and managing multimedia communications to build enrollment, student success, and public support, Mary cultivated creativity, innovation, and excellence—resulting in her team winning an impressive collection of more than 100 NCMPR Paragon and Medallion awards.