Pretty much every ambitious business I’ve worked with has needed support with developing how strongly they stand out against competitors.
Whether the wedding photographer who desperately needed to embrace his distinctive approach, competing not just with other photographers but also Auntie Emily with an iPhone; the plant-based food brand who needed to identify what they uniquely stood for and how to communicate it distinctively to consumers; or the flower brand that wanted to stand out by offering greater value to customers than their premium competitors.
They all needed to identify their customers and communicate what made them distinctive far more strongly in order to stand out.
Do you recognise this challenge in your business?
Stand out isn’t a new issue, but online plays a big role.
The Internet has revolutionised how we communicate and how successful brands are built. These days, you can decide to start a business in the morning and be up and running with a website by early afternoon.
You can connect with pretty much anyone, anywhere and you have access to more information than you’ll ever need.
The only problem with this unprecedented level of connectivity is that everyone else can do the same…so it’s not only easier than ever to start a business, but it’s also easier than ever for your potential customers to find multiple businesses offering similar products and services to you.
So, what can you do when you realise there’s LOADS of other people offering something similar to you?
1. Define Your Niche, Then Tighten It
You’d think this would be easy, but it’s really difficult, especially when your brand is at an early stage.
You know that by focusing on a tight niche your brand will stand out more strongly, but it can be tempting to try to appeal to a broader target as you work to get your business off the ground.
My learning? Take time to define your niche when you start, but be flexible.
Recognise that your business is a learning experience that enables you to adapt, refine and tighten your niche over time.
2. Get Into Your Customers Head
In any market, the business that best understands what their customers really want and how to meet those needs is going to be more successful.
Take the time to speak to potential and existing customers through social media, trade shows, networking events etc…in fact pretty much anywhere where your customers may be, go and speak to them to understand what’s going on in their head.
3. Communicate Distinctively
This takes real bravery, but is a critical element in developing stand out for your brand.
Simply put, if you look the same and act the same as everyone else, then you’re just average and will struggle to get noticed. A bland, beige brand that simply blends in will massively reduce your chance of success.
One client I’ve worked with recently is a Canadian wedding photographer who has a unique photographic style and swears far too much! We identified that rather than trying to blend in and appeal to all wedding couples, he should turn his larger than life character and artistic photography style up to the max. Since doing this, he’s booked more weddings at higher rates than ever.
Now, his photographic style and character certainly isn’t for everyone, but his clients LOVE his approach, his creativity and the stand out of the art he creates!