It’s reasonably easy to be good at something; it’s much, much harder to be the best.
If you want stand out from the crowd – whether that’s your company, your event or you personally – you need to start making some noise if you want to be noticed.
We take a look at the top 7 strategies used by the biggest brands and the best marketeers, like Apple, Coca Cola and Richard Branson, which have enabled them to dominate their respective niches.
While diversifying once you’re established can be a good way to grow your interests, when you’re trying to make a name for yourself it’s best to focus on one thing.
The idea is for your name to become synonymous with one thing i.e. Starbucks = coffee. Decide on your core offering and don’t be tempted to deviate or do anything that could dilute your message.
Companies that have found huge success by solely focusing on one product include foam clog-maker Crocs, lighter manufacturer Zippo, baby buggy brand Maclaren and the makers of lubricating spray WD-40.
Distinctive branding is a must for any business (or person) that wants to be easily recognisable.
According to a 2015 survey of 3,000 consumers in the US and UK, the top four most memorable brand logos are Nike, Apple, McDonalds and Coca-Cola.
Nike can be recognised by a single tick, McDonald’s by a solitary ‘m’ and Apple by one-dimensional silhouette, while Coca-Cola has its distinctive swirly font.
These brands also have colours strongly associated with them and it makes them instantly recognisable not just to consumers in the US, where they originated, but around the globe.
For a masterclass in branding we can look back more than 100 years ago when Griggs Candler was starting to spread the word about Coca-Cola. He decided to put the logo right there in people’s home by plastering it on calendars, posters, notebooks and bookmarks and widely distributing them. It appears to have worked!
Be an attention seeker
While we might have been taught that attention seeking is bad as children, if you want to make a name for yourself it’s necessary to be a shameless self-publicist – just ask Richard Branson.
Branson is one of the world’s best-known entrepreneurs thanks to the many daring, silly and sometimes crazy publicity stunts he’s staged. He has, to name but a few:
- Attempted to fly around the world in a hot air balloon
- Driven a tank down Fifth Avenue in New York
- Dressed as a female flight attendant for a competing airline
- Launched himself off Bognor pier wearing a pair of wings in the Birdman Rally
- Driven across the English Channel in an amphibious car wearing a tuxedo
Branson once revealed in an interview that he spends a quarter of his time on marketing and publicity stunts for his company. What could you do to get noticed?
…or as Apple would say, “Think Different”. The companies and people that innovate in their industries are the ones who drive them forward.
Apple’s 1997 “Think Different” campaign was a turning point for the company – it was a statement that Steve Jobs, the disrupter, was back, and things were about to get interesting.
The launch of the iPod, iPhone and iPad followed – taking things that already existed (portable music players, mobile phones and tablet PCs) but doing them differently – and better, than anyone else.
In order to gain a reputation as the best in your field you must think carefully about who you work with and keep your standards high.
This means being selective about clients, partners, employees and employers. Create exclusivity around your brand by limiting access – this might be making your events invite-only or creating wait-lists for your products.
In terms of obtaining the very best staff, companies need to offer something in return, so think about perks that can make you stand out from the crowd.
Facebook, for example, provides $4,000 ‘baby cash’ to employees with newborns, while Airbnb gives its employees an annual stipend of $2,000 to travel and stay in an Airbnb listing anywhere in the world.
If you can’t afford huge benefits like that, show your worth through the integrity of your company culture. Give employees the opportunity to be ‘part of a movement’, rather than just a money-making operation.
Be customer centric
Word of mouth still plays a big role in awareness and reputation so aim to surprise and delight your customers, clients or attendees in order to improve yours.
Always being prepared to ‘go the extra mile’ and take actions that others might not will single you out as a cut above the rest. New York Times best-selling author Steven Levitt wrote an article about how United Airlines turned him into a customer for life by the way they handled a flight delay.
They called Levitt to inform him of the delay and this is how the call went: “I see that you’re at the airport and your flight is delayed a few hours. A seat opened up on an earlier flight, so I grabbed it for you in case you wanted it. It leaves in 40 minutes, so you’ll have to hurry.”
Levitt was so impressed by United’s proactive approach it turned him into an ambassador for the brand.
Probably the most important element of achieving industry domination is mere familiarity. Your name needs to be at the front of people’s minds and on the tip of their tongues.
In order to achieve this, you need to be everywhere – thankfully the World Wide Web makes omniscience easier than ever (without the high costs of traditional advertising). You can consistently expose your target audience to your brand through social media advertising, PPC, affiliate and re-marketing campaigns.
A robust content marketing strategy will also grow your reputation so look for guest blogging opportunities, publish articles on LinkedIn, speak out on industry issues and share knowledge through webinars and live events.
Once people know your name, you’ll quickly become the go-to guy, gal, event or business.
Becoming a leader in any field does not come easy – it takes time and dedication.
However, implementing these strategies, being prepared to work (really) hard and having the commitment to keep the momentum going year after year will give you every chance of achieving the success and recognition you deserve!