Standing out typically doesn’t happen on its own. Standing out requires choice. I chose to name my company Red Zone Marketing, focus on marketing activities that will impact closing sales now (similar to red zone offensive strategies in football), and carry through the analogy and thought process in all that my firm does. I even have a themed football card as a business card and always wear red. Yes, it’s different, and some people think it’s slightly unprofessional, but I’ve chosen to stand out. Really, as a marketing consulting firm, fitting in seems like the opposite of what we should be doing.
Standing out doesn’t require a unique brand, but it does require finding what makes you different and consistently reinforcing it. For instance, your investment philosophy, your focus on personal service, your team’s intellectual capital, your unique planning process, etc. Find what it is, name it, perhaps develop a tag line, and start talking about it all the time. If you don’t name it, take a position, and tell people, you will look and sound like everyone else.
Frankly, it’s easier not to do any of this and just blend in with all the other firms. But if you really want to serve more people, you can’t be a hidden secret. And, daring to be different will often be rejected from some within your firm (‘Why can’t we just do things like everyone else?’) and from outside the firm (‘That firm seems a little edgy…’). But for the few people that will not like it, many more will have had the benefit of learning about you and, more important, remembering you. Be memorable, stand out, and win. Fitting in is not a good marketing strategy.