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Goose Your Gifts: Don’t dull down your differentiators

February 21, 2013

Free range geeseMost of us are raised from childhood to believe that fitting in is the way to go. Don’t make waves. Don’t rock the boat. Go along to get along.

Unfortunately, that sets us up for a life of mediocrity. It’s the people who stand out, act out, show off and question the status quo that get ahead. As the Apple ad reminds us, “It’s the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels…” It’s those who stand out—those who think and are different—whom we remember.

As a business, entrepreneur or individual who has mad skills, your survival depends upon being recognized and remembered as the source for that service or product. Make it easy for your target audience to understand that you have the solution to their challenge, that you do business in a specific way. Show your style—whether you are an industrial company or offer personal services, because your style makes you different. (And, that helps the right customers select you and shortens the sales cycle.)

As both entities and individuals, we all have “gifts” of one kind or another. Sometimes, it’s a quirk. A lot of times it’s your viewpoint. Sometimes it’s how you work. What might be perceived as a negative can be turned into a positive and become a great differentiator.

For example, buying your groceries from tattooed, pierced, herb-loving clerks might seem like a turnoff but Whole Foods profited from its taste for fresh produce and freaky employees to grow a college town grocery into a thriving nationwide enterprise.

Southwest Airlines made no-frills flying a fun experience. Crews energized that mind-numbing safety announcement into high entertainment.

As Coco Chanel said, “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” So, don’t hold back from goosing your gifts, pumping up the personality and declaring your differentiators. Fear of failure, worrying about what others think about you, and being afraid to lead rather than follow are all paths to obscurity. Obscurity kills your brand. Be loud. Be proud. Be different.


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