I was having a conversation with my 13-year-old daughter the other day regarding fashion. Obviously a slippery slope for any parent of a teen and one I should have steered well clear of. To my surprise though, I gained some amazing insight into how she views fashion statements and the importance of having a “why” behind them. Like a lot of dads with teenage kids I’m sure, I often find myself baffled by the choices my kid and her friends make when it comes to their outfits. There is no one brand or style dominating their wardrobes. I did, however, notice a lot of personalization – jeans, tees and shoes uniquely customized to reflect their own personal style. I asked my daughter one day why she cut her shirts the way she did. Or, why she had Japanese Kanji graffiti drawn on her shoes. Her response was pretty impressive: by making things her “own”, her style does the talking for her. It makes it easier for her to connect with others who are like her, making it easier to make friends.
A simple, yet very powerful encounter with my teenager. She’s found the fastest path to connection with others is through a personalized wardrobe. Why do I find this so insightful and worth sharing? She used basic items and available resources to solve one of the most challenging problems in her world: making an impression and meeting friends. This scenario is mirrored in business every day. We may not be looking for friends, necessarily (although it is a frequent bonus in our industry) but rather trying to connect with the right customers.
In an industry flush with competitors of all shapes and sizes, standing out and connecting with customers can seem like an impossibly daunting task. Does it have to be? We as business owners tend to spend too much time looking out the window instead of looking in the mirror. We look out at our respective professions and get caught up in the ground swell of trendsetting or maybe just trend following, or the problem of the week. This, when we should be looking in the mirror and focusing on what matters: seeing what our current and prospective customers see. It becomes all but impossible to stand out when you look, sound and act like everyone else.
Pro Tip: Want to know what we think of having a competitive spirit and mindset in business? Read our letter on the subject here!
So, how do you differentiate yourself? How do you set your brand apart from the rest of the pack? Make it personal. Look in that metaphorical mirror and personalize your brand. Tune in your brand to be exactly “who” your business is. Make sure your product and service descriptions are what your ideal customer is looking for. Create your business’s unique voice in your messaging. Then, make yourself easily found and accessible. Back this up with responsiveness and proactive lead and client nurturing.
Know who you want to work for. Design a truly singular customer experience that speaks directly to them in a voice and sequence they’ll want to engage with. Having the knowledge behind what they want and delivering it in everything you do will do the selling for you. It will make it easier to connect with the clients you want to work for. And, bonus: it will make it that much more likely for those clients to become your biggest fans.
We’re sharing different insights from pros like you as well as our own editorial team on the impact of personalization. We’ve got insights on how having this powerful point of view helps brands grow, connects them with more of the right customers, book more events, and creates effective business networks.
CEO & Co-Founder