One of the challenges many small business owners face is finding out how to stand out and get noticed in the marketplace. Gerry Foster helps us identify the things that will make us visible amidst the noise of other businesses as he pulls out some great big brands that we could learn from. In this episode, think outside of the box and find out where you shine the brightest.
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Don’t Be Seen As A Snore!
What Is It That You Have
This is episode thirteen, Don’t Be Seen as a Snore. One of the things that I come across all the time when talking with various small business owners is the challenge that they face in terms of simply being able to stand out and get noticed in the marketplace. As it seems more and more companies and brands are clamoring for attention, particularly in social media, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, you name it. What we know to be true is what lies at the heart of being able to be seen so you can then be heard is being able to put something out into the marketplace that sets you apart from the rest of the crowd. What that has to do with is making sure that you’re not putting something out that may be looked upon as being somewhat mundane.
You have to ask yourself, what is it that you could offer that others don’t? I’ve touched upon this idea before in some of the previous episodes, but it lies at the heart of big branding, which is you simply getting clear on what is it that you have. It could be an ability, some attribute in your product, and an aspect of your services. It could be some action that you take through your brand, your company, your product, your service and your nonprofit that others do not. It becomes a thing that people will look to buy from you is what they’re going to seek out from you because you are going to be emphasizing what it is that you do best. It’s so funny because I always talk about how you can learn from the big companies that you could do what the big boys are doing. You don’t have to have their budgets, but you can certainly think like them. I took note of what Charmin bath tissue was doing. They’ve come out with a bath tissue called Forever Rolls.
We’re talking about tissue paper here, toilet paper, bath tissue where they have doubled the size of traditional bath tissue rolls and they made it twelve inches. They’re targeting single, older people who have no one to call if they run out of toilet tissue. Don’t laugh at that because the whole idea behind wrapping up sales is to do what? Find a need and fill it. They’re also targeting Millennials. Don’t get me wrong here. They looked out into the marketplace and they asked themselves, “What could they offer that will literally get the consumer to think about their brand in a way that puts the attention on something very specific, quite remarkable, somewhat superlative that not only matters to the consumer. It’s going to dry the consumer to your particular brand because you say that you have something that you’re looking for that no one else does.”What lies at the heart of being seen is putting something out into the marketplace that sets you apart from the rest of the crowd. Click To Tweet
That’s what this is all about. You don’t have to start worrying about how you stand out, how you attract customers and how can you achieve name recognition? How do you get your name out there? How do you keep it out there? How do you generate more awareness and more visibility and how can you become known as an authority in your space? The answer to that is to do what? You don’t have to have the budget of a large corporation to do what it is that they’re doing. No, you have to outsmart them.
Learn From Big, Brilliant Businesses
I’m always fascinated when I hear about any smart, brilliant business. I say that because they looked out into the marketplace and they asked themselves where was there an opportunity that they could cash in on. I started doing a little research because I’m the brand evangelist and that’s part of what I do. I take a look at what’s out there, what’s working, what’s rapping sales for different people and I make note of them. A few that I took note of that I think offers a lesson to all of you, the first one is for a service business. It’s called Plated. It’s a meal kit service.
Their whole claim to fame is around the idea of providing you the opportunity to skip the shopping and make your groceries come to you. On the surface, you may say, “It’s just another meal delivery service.” No, their whole idea is to say to the consumer, “Convenience has never been so delicious because we deliver the ingredients that you need when and where you want them precisely measured for the recipes that you’ve chosen. What this means to you as a benefit is less prep time, less food waste and more control of your schedule.” They offer their customers the convenience of being able to adjust their meal kit delivery days week-to-week because they want you to be able to come home to everything you need for a great dinner.
I believe they sold the business to Albertsons for $300 million. They become a big brand that quickly. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s quite breathtaking when you think about it and you talk about generating an incredible return on whoever invested in that venture is something. We’re talking about real delicious cooking without all the extra work. A brand talks about how their chefs are some of the best around when it comes down to breaking down complex recipes into a few simple steps while keeping that five-star look in taste alive. That’s something to be proud of. I came across another brand called Lovepop. They have me at the name. They provide unique 3D papers, sculpture, greeting cards because their whole objective through their brand is to make every occasion magical.
The two people who founded the brand, who are best friends and were Naval architects said, “We’re going to beautiful laser cut pop up cars designed on a special shipbuilding software, handcrafted in some ancient art form.” Remember, it’s all about how can you make what you have magical, incredible, exceptional and they’re on a mission to create a billion magical moments by making it easy for us as consumers to do something creative and meaningful for the people that we love. They want to create memorable, shared connections between the giver and the receiver. From their perspective, if you can provide something meaningful, beautiful and unexpected or seemingly impossible as a greeting card experience, you’re giving them a magical moment.
It’s all about how do you set yourself apart. This can be done in any category. It does not matter what you sell. You have to think outside the box. That’s why I called this episode, Don’t Be Seen as a Snore. You don’t want to put something out that’s looked upon as being plain vanilla. I’ve already talked about that. Here’s another one, Wicked Good Cupcakes. I love a great cupcake, but when I hear Wicked Good Cupcakes, you got my attention. The whole idea around these Wicked Good Cupcakes was to be able to provide something that can also be shipped as a homemade baked item. Whereby they’re saying, “We’ve got Wicked Good Cupcakes in a jar that each jar is jam-packed with two cupcakes that will last up to ten days without refrigeration or can be frozen for up to six months.” What kind of cupcakes are these? It’s amazing because they’ve got gluten-free and partied packs. They throw on some pies in there. You can send a gift, but the whole idea is to do what? Give something to the customer that they cannot get anywhere else.
Not to be outdone is a company called Daisy Cakes. We’ve gone from wicked good to daisy cakes. I love Daisy Cakes because this is some good old Southern type of cooking going on here. The founders of this brand said, “Down here in the South, cooking and baking are all about creating something together and sharing the love.” They’re carrying on a family tradition into providing some delicious handmade cakes where each cake is baked with the freshest ingredients, carefully packed by hand because they truly believe in sharing a taste of the South. “When you bite into one of our cakes, you are going to enjoy a slice of love from our kitchen to yours.”You don't have to have the budget of a large corporation to do what it is that they're doing. You just have to outsmart them. Click To Tweet
They got a great story around it in terms of the Southern tale of family tradition and farm-fresh ingredients that date back through generations. It all started in South Carolina with relatives from the past called the Southern Misses. What they’re doing here is they’re not only putting something out that is different and superior to other choices, but they’re also wrapping it up around a brand story because the Southern Misses were the Southern Belles who were talented bakers who made it a point to pass down their handmade recipes with love from generation to generation because they knew all their ingredients and recipes by heart. Fortunately, they wrote them down for future generations to come, farm fresh ingredients, incredible, delicious, mouth-watering cakes.
Think Outside The Box
For those of you who might be thinking, “All these are the products,” the first one wasn’t a product. Plated was a meal kit service. You can easily make sure that your services are not a bore by differentiating yourself around what it is that you do that allows you to excel at what you do. Maybe you can start thinking about if you offer services, any skill, talent, ability, any expertise, anyone out there who is creating or has a personal brand, maybe you can start to think outside the box and be a little inventive and groundbreaking by thinking about how quickly through your speed that you service your customers. Maybe you can make some crazy promises around how incredibly fast you are. Isn’t that what Amazon does? Isn’t the Amazon brand not just about the fact that they pretty much offer everything on the planet as a product? Isn’t it also built around their guarantee of fast delivery? Not that they’re simply fast, but they’re reliably fast.
Maybe you can start thinking about how you were different from the competition by the fact that you are available and accessible to the customer. Maybe the fact that you are available is one of the main reasons people love to work with you. Isn’t that what happened in the “Rideshare Industry.” Remember how we were sick and tired of having to wait on taxicabs and along came Uber and Lyft and they are a great example of providing us transportation when and where we need it by making themselves as available and as accessible as possible. On top of that, they let us choose the kind of car that we want to ride in and they will pick us up wherever and whatever time. If we want, we can even choose the route that we want them to take. We can even tell them the news if we want to listen to.
Think about how to differentiate yourself. Maybe you can talk about how incredible it is to work with you as far as being able to experience some extra moment. Maybe you could talk about how you go beyond the norm to please your customers in terms of going that extra mile. Think of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Remember when they came on the scene, Hertz, Avis, Budget and National Car Rental were all slugging it out in airports and along comes Enterprise Rent-A-Car who says, “We’ll come pick you up.” How’s that for going the extra mile? They not only wanted to make sure that you have a good car rental experience, but they also want you to know that you can avoid a lot of the hassles that are associated with renting a car. They set a whole new trend in the industry.
Maybe you could talk about how you are so responsive to your customer. Maybe we can talk about how you anticipate things before they even happen. Isn’t that the Ritz-Carlton brand? Isn’t that the brand of any high regard where they can anticipate what it is that we’re looking for and they make sure that they are on top of it before we even have to complain about something? What about your own core competencies, your own skillsets? I talked about this in a previous episode. What are you good at? What are you great at? When do you shine the brightest? You got all types of ways to create something that’s magical, remarkable and marvelous for your customer, but you do have to think outside the box. You do have to be a little willing to not be like the rest of the crowd.
You do have to have a certain mindset for all of this. You do have to start thinking about what kind of presence do you want to have in the marketplace? How do you want people to see you? How do you want people to think of you? How do you want to position yourself? What do you want to be known for? All revolving around the thing that matters the most to your customer that’s going to make them appreciate you the most. We’re going to get more into this thing as we go along. I’ve got all types of success stories to share with you. I’ve got interviews planned for you with people who are rocking it with their small businesses. They may not be household names yet, but they certainly are on their way to doing some great things. I think to a degree, especially here in America, we’ve gotten so caught up in the firestorm of the internet that we have lost our sense of being able to link our brands and our brand names to an idea, a concept that says to the consumer, “I’m not like everybody else. I’ve got superior value and here is why.”You can easily make sure that your services are not a bore by differentiating yourself and excelling at what you do. Click To Tweet
That’s all about you becoming a go-to brand in your space, your industry, your category, your field of expertise. Go big or go home. It’s time to dream big, so you can play big and have big and make great things happen in your life. The world, the way things are shaping up, you cannot be a snore. You cannot be boring. You have got to start thinking as creatively as possible until you come up with something that feels right to you. Until you can come up with a way that sets yourself apart so that when people see your name come across you on a website, have any experience of you, it may have been like the very first time you ever saw the McDonald’s golden arches. I remember the first time I saw the golden arches, I thought it was the most wonderful thing I’d ever seen for a hamburger stand.
What is it going to be your golden arches? It is a question I want to leave you with, so that you can inspire confidence in your consumer. People can look upon you as someone who is above the rest of the crowd, knowing that the impressions you make must be the right impressions, the best impressions. You are associated with something that is easy to identify, something that allowed you to go beyond whatever frustrations and challenges that you are having in terms of your ability to do some successful marketing down the road. Successful marketing has to be rooted in some smart and strategic branding.
It’s your time. It’s your opportunity. We don’t have to be like the rest of the crowd. We’re seeing that so many small businesses seem to be bumping up against so much competition. Everybody’s trying to get to the next level. There seems to be such an emphasis on social media marketing. I understand that, however, if you root your brand around your strongest capabilities, you will discover how to score at eCommerce and any social media lead generation, conversion goals that you may have to move forward. Until next time, take care.
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