If you want to stand out in your industry, don’t look, act, talk, walk, quack or bark like anyone else in your industry. The best way to stand apart from your counterparts/competition is to be completely different. Sounds easy right? Then why do so many fail?
When beginning the process of research, development and design (RD&D) of a product, many make the mistake of looking at their counterparts in the same industry to see what they are doing, what they look like, how they position their message. Well, guess what happens when they get done with their RD&D and launch their new product? It’s no different than any other product in their industry. There’s nothing that sets it apart from all the rest.
If you have a product or packaging in development, look at other industries to see what they are doing for packaging, graphic design, POP displays, messaging, warranties, market channel distribution etc. Work to understand the overall vibe of the industry and how you can incorporate these new ideas into your own products. Make sure your RD&D team understands that the expectation is to NOT be like anyone else in your competing market. Challenge them to look outside and create something fresh and new that’s never been seen. They’ll appreciate the challenge.
Here are some of the industries/niche interests I like to follow for fresh ideas:
Photography and video
Vintage outdoor sports, motorsports and luxury goods
Outdoor and athletic wear
Do you sell hot sauce or do you sell HOT SAUCE? Both accomplish the same goal, but look how the delivery of the Chop Shop Hot Sauce (below) blows anything else in the marketplace out of the water with packaging and design. This is a perfect example of setting yourself apart from all the others in your industry by incorporating fresh design and non-traditional packaging.
Wanna know what your customers think about you in real time? Ask them. That’s right, post something like this on your Facebook page: “Hey Fans, we want your feedback. Good or bad or both. How are we doing? How do you like doing business with us and what can we change to make your experience dealing with us better? What’s the best experience you’ve had with us? What’s the worst experience you’ve had us with? Please respond below. Posting selfies are optional.”
Next, go to your “Ads Manager” and pay $50 to promote this post to your “Fans.” Sit back and watch in real time what people think about you. In the end, it helps you build a better customer experience and that’s what it’s all about. Here’s the brand takeaway: businesses that are transparent in their efforts to create a better customer experience are deemed to be more approachable and authentic in the minds of their customers.
In the world of marketing there is a saying that I believe holds true for every person in one aspect of business or another…..
“Content is King.”
I recently spoke to a group of young leaders in Missoula and one of their questions to me was, “How can we develop a strong personal brand and be seen as a leader in our industry?” My answer to them was simple…Content is King. In other words, if you want to be seen as the expert in your field, the thought leader in your group of industry peers, then one of the things you need to do on a regular basis is develop interesting and thought provoking content on various topics about your industry or business specialty. It’s one thing to re-blog and re-post interesting articles. That’s easy and anyone can do it. It’s a completely different ballgame when you’re the person creating this content.
Why not create your own content? After all, I’ve seen peoples LinkedIn profiles. Everyone has proclaimed themselves as an expert in their specific field (and many have proclaimed proficiencies in fields they’ve never been involved in but that’s another story).
So if you’re an expert in your field, why not be the person writing and sharing your own content? I see way too much re-blogging and re-posting of content by individuals who are well established, incredibly articulate and quite frankly, should be writing better content than what they are sharing. Do yourself a favor. Start a blog site, a WordPress site and start writing the very content that will not only get shared across the world, but also makes you a thought leader in your field.
Can you imagine what will happen to you and your career once you start creating content that is being re-blogged, re-posted and shared around the world? I would imagine you becoming the King or Queen of your industry.