Know Who You Are
It’s imperative to understand every detail about your business to grasp the potential marketing could play into it. You need to ask yourself questions like: What do we offer? How are we different than the competition? How do our processes work? Etc.
Once you have an intricate knowledge of your organization, you need to be able to tell that story. Success can be measured based on your ability to explain everything to a child and have them understand.
Knowing who you are seems like a simple task, but it’s a necessary foundation to building an effective strategy.
Know Your Secret Sauce
What makes you different than your competition? Now that you know every detail about your organization, figure out what could become your WOW factor. There’s a lot of marketing clutter out there on the internet, so how will you cut through all the crap? What will make you stand out as memorable in the eyes of your prospects?
This step may require a bit of creativity and elbow grease. Be prepared to experiment and test your ideas.
There’s a Right Way to Make a Statement
If you want to stand out, don’t be like everybody else. Simple as that. Look for ways to be creative instead of sending out a boring press release.
GE provided a great example because they wanted to take a stance on women in the workplace. Instead of issuing a press release explaining their dedication to hiring more women, they decided to make a video highlighting all the great accomplishments of women. The short video clip gained a lot of media attention and provided a great source of earned media for them to elaborate on the importance of the issues they support.
Find Unexpected Audiences
Developing authentic relationships will make people more likely to be loyal to your brand. The key is to find that connection with multiple audiences, instead of limiting yourself.
GE wanted to use their technology and innovation to find creative ways to engage a larger audience. So they used a team of engineers to create the perfect smoker for barbecuing meat. Then they used science to discover the most chemically balanced barbecue sauce. They took these discoveries to college campuses and hosted giant barbecues to show off their smoker and barbecue sauce technique.
This represents an engaging and creative method to attracting a larger audience to your brand. GE increased brand awareness and attracted a new group of followers to their products that may have previously seen them as boring.
Yes, Material Science Can Be Cool
Like we mentioned earlier, it’s all about making a complicated topic relatable and interesting. It’s important to branch out from simply explaining what you do or provide and engage your audience with something fascinating.
Experiment Early and Often
Find the things that would make you stand out and test them! A great idea is useless without execution and implementation. Find the things that work and perfect those processes. And if your ideas fail, move on and try something else.
When you’re the first to try something, the outcome is unknown. There’s risk involved. But if you play it safe, you’ll comfortably blend in with everybody else and avoid growth.
The age of the internet has created a massive flood of information. As marketers, it’s a great way for us to learn best practices, tips and tricks, and advice from professionals within our industry.
This flood of information also makes it really easy for us to become average and blend in. Think about it; we can simply look up strategies, best practices, social media posting times, and more online. And we blend in because everyone else has access to the same information.
If you need further proof of this, simply type in “best posting time for twitter” and it will literally provide the information at the top of the search results. You don’t even have to click on a link! So, if everyone can see that information… suddenly those twitter posting times aren’t the best times to post.
So what does it take to be exceptional??
1. Find your OWN answers, Don’t be a Copycat
Let me tell you the story of Death Wish Coffee
Mike Brown had a dream to open his own coffee shop. He finally opened up his little shop and it slowly began to fail until he had to sell his house, his car, and other items to try and keep it afloat. Finally he sought advice from other coffee shop owners to try and discover the problem.
They all informed him that it was all about the coffee bean. There were two types of coffee bean and apparently Mike was using the wrong kind. Unfortunately, the bean they were recommending was far more expensive and unrealistic for his circumstances.
Then Mike decided to listen to his customers. He realized that people came in all the time and asked him what was the strongest coffee he offered. So he worked and developed the strongest, most potent coffee in the world and named it Death Wish coffee. It was an instant success!
2. Create Your Aspiration
Let’s continue with analyzing Death Wish Coffee. What was his aspiration? To develop the world’s strongest coffee.
After Mike had developed Death Wish Coffee, he wanted to dig deeper and really find out what was at the core of the product. The obvious answer was so that his customers could stay awake longer and have more energy. But he didn’t stop there. He dove deeper. He realized that these customers wanted more energy so they could get more done in the day. But he dove even deeper until he discovered the soul of Death Wish. His customers wanted a product that would allow them to work themselves to death.
This included a wide audience and didn’t exclude certain types of people. Anyone that wants to work themselves to death, is welcome to try Mike’s coffee. We need to keep digging until we discover our customer’s’ death wish.
3. Test Your Insights
Here comes the hard part. Convincing your organization to allow you to test your gut instinct. But without risk, there’s no reward.
You can provide reasoning to your ideas by analyzing all the possibilities and filtering them through logical questions. Ask yourself: What do my customers really want? Are we currently providing that for them? How can we change or adapt to reach new markets?
4. Inspire Action
Don’t demand action, no one likes to be told what to do. We need to get an emotional response from our prospects. It’s better to inspire the believers than to try and coerce the skeptics.
Casey Neistat – Influential YouTuber and Filmmaker
Casey Neistat is a classic example of a person that came from nothing, yet achieved greatness. He dropped out of high school when he was only 15 and moved out of his home. Shortly thereafter, he got his girlfriend pregnant and had a son named Owen. He lived in poverty and unhappiness for years until he discovered his passion and became incredibly famous.
How did he do it? By following three simple principles.
Discover Your Passion and Pursue it
Even though he was making very little income, Casey was presented with an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. As soon as he was introduced to cameras, he knew he wanted to incorporate it into his life somehow.
He started by learning how to use the camera and filmed everything he possibly could. He wasn’t making any money, but it made him happy. So he pursued his passion.
We can all see the result of his pursuit.
In an age where advertisers try to shove their message down your throat, authenticity can cut through the clutter.
He told a story about his son that I’m sure we can all relate to. You know those little YouTube ads that play before you can watch your selected video? As soon as the advertisement came up, Casey watched his son mute his audio and change tabs to Facebook while he waited for the 5 second timer to end. Then he switched back and skipped the ad and watched his video.
People don’t want to be told what to watch. We want to watch the content that we selected! So we’ll find any loophole to escape fake, phony, and intrusive advertising.
When you are authentic, people will naturally be drawn to your content. It’s refreshing!
Stand for Your Beliefs
Casey is a prime example of doing whatever he wants. I wouldn’t want to be the person trying to tell him how to do his job.
Early in his filmmaking career, he often got hired to do videos for big companies. They’d have the whole process scripted and storyboarded out, effectively eliminating all of Casey’s creativity. Eventually he stopped taking those jobs, claiming that any robot could follow step-by-step instructions.
When Nike reached out to him about filming a video for a product launch, he had one condition. They had to let him do whatever he wanted with the budget they gave him. They couldn’t interfere or stifle his creative style.
Casey didn’t really expect that. So he just stared at the big pile of money he’d been given… and thought of things he’s always wanted to do. Instead of using the money to film a commercial like Nike asked, he blew all the money traveling around the world, because it was something he’d always wanted to do. You can check out the end product here.
Ultimately, those three principles helped Casey climb the ladder of success with content marketing.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Actor and Filmmaker
Joseph Gordon-Levitt focused more on elaborating on his business endeavors instead of his acting career. He developed a love for filmmaking and started a website to nurture his hobby.
He launched Hitrecord and it eventually grew from a hobby to a major platform for filmmaking collaborators.
He discussed the importance of bringing out the best of people instead of having everyone compete against each other. When we work together, we can all provide valuable insights or ideas that might have been lost if we kept the project hidden from our competition.