Wandering the aisles at a craft show a while back, I was surprised that the same styles and motifs appeared over and over. Most likely, each artist thought of himself as different. But why didn’t anyone want to stand out, especially in a creative industry?
It is said that there are very few original ideas. But there’s plenty of room for a different kind of originality. Put two or more existing ideas together to form a new product or service. Put a new spin on an old idea. Use your voice. If you’re an independent business owner and you’re not putting your unique voice to work, you’re overlooking the one tool you have that no one else does.
What is something more?
Do something your industry doesn’t normally do.
• Be the only reliable and responsive contractor in your area.
• If you’re an accountant, offer free quarterly gatherings to answer burning tax questions. Better yet, host a burn-your-10-year-tax-documents bonfire.
• Add humor to an otherwise humorless industry like this South African airline.
• Buck convention like this LA acupuncturist does. I guarantee he’s booked solid, due in large part to talking about his industry as few would be brave enough to do.
• Offer customized services if standard packaged are the norm, or packaged services where custom is the norm.
Openly state a promise in your marketing materials.
You have to be able to stand by it, so make it something you’re really able to do.
Surprise and delight.
• Send a gift after every project, every baby you deliver, every bathroom you renovate.
• Call a client a week after you give them a chiropractic adjustment just to see how they’re feeling.
• Let every 100th person who walks in the door of your bakery see the inner workings of the kitchen.
Create a unique high standard you never compromise on.
Christopher Kimball of Cook’s Illustrated has never and swears he never will put advertising in his magazine. He does this to remain neutral and trustworthy when doing product reviews, a key magazine feature. A unique high standard will also help you say “no” to business you don’t want.
All these ideas can be fundamental parts of your brand story. If you were to pick one of these ideas, what would your something more be?
(Image: Christina B. Castro)