In an overcrowded, hypercompetitive world, the only way to make an impression on your prospect is to break through the noise. “The formula of telling everybody how great you are with your state-of-the-art solutions, commitment to customer service, and best prices in town just won’t cut it,” says marketing expert Lauron Sonnier, author of Think Like a Marketer.
The first step is getting clear on what you want. How do you want to be perceived? Who is your ideal customer? How do you define success today and tomorrow? Once you know what you want, you must take deliberate action in a constant and consistent manner.
In truth, you already stand out in some way. If I were to ask your friends to share what comes to mind when they think of you, what would they say? What if I asked your spouse, child, or associate? You know they would have an answer! What adjectives would they use to describe you, and would you like their responses?
1. Do different things. “It’s easy to stand out when you do something no one else is doing,” Sonnier says. “To beat your competition, you can’t just be a little better than they are. You have to do something different than they do.”
2. Do things differently.“This is where you demonstrate your understanding that the ‘how’ can be more important than the ‘what,’ ” she says. Add a special touch of class, elegance, humor or spice that makes even the common seem special.
3.Stir emotions; spread happiness.“When you stir positive emotions, be they joy or inspiration or peace of mind, you send a message that there’s more where that came from,” Sonnier says. And they’ll keep coming back for more.
4. Be consistent. The three aforementioned methods of standing out will work only if they are consistent. “Whatever it is, however seemingly insignificant, if it always happens or never happens, you have created something sticky. You have developed an identity that people can count on and will talk about.”
Now let’s look at your business. If we asked your customers to share what comes to mind when they think of you, what would they say? What if we asked your employees, vendors, associates, or a stranger off the street? Would you get a common answer or varied responses? Would their perception of you be accurate? Would it be complete? Would their impressions further your relationship and make them choose you over someone else?
Of course the hope is that they all have positive things to say. But, even if their comments are complimentary, they may not be business-building. Standing out, from a marketing perspective, means not just making a good impression, but making the right impression.
How does your market need to perceive you to understand the value you offer? What adjectives do you want people to use when they describe you, your company, product, service, materials, office, staff, processes, policies… everything? How do prospects need to perceive you to choose you over the competition?
Make your official attributes list. Then ask, “Am I, and are we as a company, making impressions every day in everything we do to communicate and reinforce these desired attributes? Do our habits and behaviors make people think, feel, and relate the right adjectives about us? If not, what do we need to do differently—and consistently—to get us there?”
To succeed, your business must stand out, but not just in a good way. It must stand out in the right way