There is a great Jerry Garcia quote that goes something like it’s not enough to be the best at what you do, what counts is to be the only person who does what you do. Few would argue that there is only one Jerry Garcia – guitarist, sage, hippy role model – which kind of makes the point. Being good at something is one thing, but being unique is something very much more recognisable, and therefore potentially at least, more valuable.
There are any number of successful variations on Garcia’s formula out there once you start to look around. Of course, there are always imitations – there is no surer sign of a great idea – but as often as not it’s the originators – in the full sense of the word – whose name, identity and brand stick in customers’ minds. That’s just the way it is.
If you think about pre-packaged fruit smoothies with all natural ingredients, odds are there is one brand that will be in your mind before any others. Innocent didn’t invent the smoothie, but they did position themselves perfectly in a marketplace otherwise dominated by bubbles and sugar.
Likewise, Bet365 may appear on face value just another online bookmaker, but if you’re watching a sporting event and you think you can predict what’s happening then its bet in play exchange is as likely as not the site you’ll navigate to. International football betting volumes may peak and trough with the big tournament cycles, but the bread and butter of domestic football has seen the level of football betting ramp up by a factor of 69% since 2009. Bet365’s unique cash out option has put them streaks ahead of the competition in that surge. Being known as the business who does that one thing can make for remarkable returns.
The same logic works for cars, it works for cake, it works for sheet metal and it works for cotton sheets. There is no escaping the need to offer something above and beyond your point on the supply and demand graph – there has to be something more if you are to drive your business forward.
Of course, it is always easier to spot what has made someone else successful after the event than it is to pull off that trick for yourself. If it weren’t, Hawaii would be pretty crowded by now. But what is important is the direction of Garcia’s thinking. If we can find that one aspect of what we do that is authentically different from the competition then we will be on the way to establishing a telling place for ourselves in peoples’ minds, or – if you prefer – the marketplace.
Not every idea will catch on. Not every aspect of what you do that only you do will be popular. Sadly, that’s true for us all. But the very idea that there is something, that one thing, capable of making us stand out from the crowd can be a valuable lightening conductor for our own thinking. Once you know what that thing is all you need to do is to tell people what it is. Tell them the story of that uniqueness loud and clear and tell them over and over. And if you can do that in a way that’s unique and personal to you, so much the better!
This is a guest post by Roisin Byrne, check out the Buiness Boutique for more information.
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