Y’all, I have some crucial info to share with you, and I really really really NEED you to hear me on this. In this world’s ridiculously oversaturated market filled with more noise than we can ever sift through, it’s simply not enough to just be “different.” You have to be RADICALLY different.
And instead of me trying to explain that to you, ima let Marty Neumeier do it. Since he’s the one who I got that phrase from anyhow. Oh, and if you haven’t read his books (The Brand Gap, Zag, and Brand Flip), go go. This particular topic comes from Zag.
“…in a world of extreme clutter…you need RADICAL differentiation. The new rule: When everybody zigs, zag. Traditional differentiation is an uphill battle in which companies lavish too much effort on too few competitive advantages: the latest feature, a new color, a lower price, a higher speed. Radical differentiation, on the other hand, is about finding a whole new market space you can own and defend, thereby delivering profits over years instead of months” (emphasis added).
Think about that for a minute and let it really sink in. Everywhere we turn, we have too many products and services with too many features spouting too many messages with too many elements over too many channels. We literally can’t even.
If we want to capture our audience’s attention, we have to throw something at them they haven’t seen yet. “If ANYBODY’s doing it, you’d be crazy to do it yourself. You can’t be a leader by following the leader” (Neumeier, Zag, emphasis in original). Y’all…that’s freaking terrifying. And, make no mistake, I don’t tell you this stuff because I’ve mastered it. Far from. I’m telling you this stuff because I GET IT. I’m right there with you. But scary or not, we have to admit…it makes total freaking sense.
Marty also gives some great tips on finding your very own zag. Instead of looking for space in an already crowded area, search for the empty space or the “white space.” Things that are missing in your area of expertise. And, following that…find a need, meet a need. It’s true, the phrase usually is “see a need, meet a need,” but that’s not enough. If we can already see it, someone else probably has too. We need to FIND one. Neumeier talks about “The Innovator’s Solution: look for a job people are already trying to get done, then help them do it.”
I know I know, it all sounds really easy when you say it or read it. It’s not. Not even a little bit. And I could go on and on, but what I really need to do here is just tell you to go by Marty’s books. All of ‘em. They’re super easy, quick reads, but jam-freaking-packed with gold.
In the meantime, ask yourself this question: when it comes to my brand and my business, am I ready and willing to be RADICALLY different?
(Hint: you need to be. And if you aren’t, figure out what’s holding you back so you can stomp that crap into the ground and get back to your magical, badass self.)