Being Different Doesn’t Mean Being Goofy
It’s bothered me for a while now. I give people my business card or a lottery ticket, they smile and the first thing they say is, “Oh we can’t be goofy like that!!” Well no $!%& Sherlock!! I don’t expect you to outright copy what we do, it’s the thought that matters. It’s the intention of being a little bit different in a lot of little ways.
That’s what branding is, defining why you are different, why you standout, why you’re the best.
Be Different In a Purposeful Way
ING direct – say no to someone. At the original ING if you wanted to deposit more than a million dollars they wouldn’t let you. People who deposit that kind of money expect something in return, that’s not the type of relationship the ING team wanted to grow.
The relentless search to help you save more, ING stood out because they said no to a certain type of customer.
Whole foods – give the power to your staff. At Whole Foods they stand out because of policies they’ve implemented. Example: the CEO can’t make more than 17 times the amount the lowest paid employee makes for a salary. When you get hired by Whole Foods, three months in your manager doesn’t decide on keeping you around your peers do. Afterall, they’re going to be the ones working along side you most days, shouldn’t they have say in who they work with?
Whole Foods is the future grocer, they’re trying to adapt their business model to the changing world. They aren’t goofy, just different.
Develop a personality for your brand
Jones Soda – personalize your brand. How are you different?
For Jones Soda, the question was how do you reinvent an American staple beverage that’s been around since world war 1? The answer? Put a different “local” photo on the bottles and change them often. The beverage is pretty good but nothing spectacular. The packaging is one of a kind, and what most people don’t know is that Jones uses customer submitted photos. People can submit their photos on the website and Jones picks the best ones and runs them in the areas they are submitted in. This is brilliant, the bottles have a much better chance of “someone knowing someone” from labels.
They’re kind of weird in the fact that during some seasons they’ll introduce really different flavours. These unique takes on cola become collectors items instantly.
Jones Soda, different but not goofy.
Commerce bank – You can standout in a conservative industry. How do you “be different” in an industry that craves conservative values and consistency? Simple, do things differently. From the bank interiors to their customer appreciation, they try to be a little better in everything they do.
Your Brand: What do you promise to always do? What do you promise to never do?
Southwest Airlines – you can be different in the most competitive industries in the world. Southwest airlines were the first to be the low cost no frills airline, and boy it it pay off. One of the most successful airlines in history, Herb Kelleher was the visionary that pushed Southwest to be the “different” airline.
Did Herb cross the line into “goofy” from time to time? Heck yes he did, on purpose. He knew if people talked about his whiskey swilling antics media outlets would write about them. And that’s exactly what happened. There’s nothing like free publicity when you love being different.
Starbucks – unapologetically celebrate who you are. an amazing product plus great service creates loyalty. Starbucks stands out in a good way. They’re consistently in the top three barristsa’s, delicious coffee, and great service. What you don’t see are the amazing things the organization does for it’s employees. This past year signing a deal with Arizona State University, Starbucks is offering a college education to every employee via distance learn.
You’re going to educate your entire workforce?!? But why?!? It sets the bar for eveery other public company in how they treat their workforces education. And single handedly made them the employer of choice for many people who are really, REALLY trying to get by or who are looking for an innovative career path.
Being different is a great way to get people to talk about your brand
The Strategy Lab Brand?
Answer your phone. Care more, work harder. Do everything with generosity. Mind the little things. Be remarkable, do impossible things. Be a human. Smile lots, laugh more. And for crying out loud enjoy a cupcake every now and then!