Why do certain companies, brands, and even people stand out in a world where everyone is basically saying and doing the same thing?
People in my business ask that question a lot. My guess is that people in your business do, too. And for the most part, we all get it wrong. We focus on the tools – like marketing campaigns, social media, and advertising – and ignore the goal – to make customers want to do business with us.
Your potential customers are asking three questions: Why you? Why now? What makes you relevant to my needs and wants today. The answer to these questions communicates your brand and creates your attractiveness in the marketplace.
Your brand is a promise made and a promise delivered. It isn’t your slogan or tag line—those are merely communication tools. Some of the best brands don’t even use a tag line or slogan—think Google or Starbucks.
You deliver the promise when you create an experience. You can own the experience, but the customer owns the perception of the brand. Here are three things you can do to define and deliver an experience that sets you apart:
- Define the Vision: Be crystal clear on how you want to be known and perceived by the people with whom you want to do business. Dick Mitchell, Managing Principal at the Click Here Agency, says that the first step in creating your brand is to define your truth. Ideally, your vision is the embodiment of that truth expanded and extended to the marketplace. The clearer the vision and the closer to your truth, the more compelling the promise.
- Be amazing with your execution: Fundamentals are the minimum in today’s competitive world. Being distinctive is the difference – if it adds value. Every true competitor delivers about the same product at about the same quality and about the same level of service and value. To stand out, you must master the fundamentals and be amazing at the things that make you distinctive in the hearts and minds of the customers.
- Protect and enhance the experience: There are people who return to Disney World every year. That’s because Disney consistently replicates the experience that initially hooked the customer and then enhances it with something new. Past success proves you were right once, and you must re-earn your attention every day.
Here are three examples of a groups and individuals who defined a vision based on their truth; deliver amazing execution; and protect and enhance the customer experience:
- Zappos. Everyone is talking about Zappos right now and for good reason. You don’t need to know that their tagline is “Powered by Service.” It is evident in every interaction.
- Chico’s. My wife loves Chico’s because they have a product line and shopping experience that fits her style, sensibilities, and tastes. You won’t see a lot of teenagers or 20-something’s shopping there. That’s not their promise. But if you want age-appropriate, stylish clothing designed for women who want to look their best, check out Chico’s. Say hello to my wife when you see her.
- Larry Winget. You may know Larry as The Pit Bull of Personal Development® and New York Times best-selling author. I am fortunate to count him as a great friend. He’s also one of a handful of people in my profession who have created a brand that is truly distinctive. The pit bull tag line didn’t create Larry’s brand. It simply and accurately articulated the experience of his audience and fans.
People and businesses have been trying to stand out forever. They tend to focus on what they can do to stand out to the detriment of building an experience that stands out. Don’t get lost in the tools like social media and marketing programs. Make the experience meaningful, and the rest will fall into place. That’s the way you deliver results.