Stand for something or stand for nothing.
I’ve just returned from an event where some of the most successful companies of today describe how they will continue to be memorable tomorrow.
Mumsnet, White Stuff, Metrobank, Patisserie Valerie all advise business owners to have a cause, be true to yourself, differentiate, be courageous, be controversial occasionally and have fun - not one of them said be fearful, be the same, be vanilla.
In a world as busy and complex as ours there’s no room for 'me too', for bland, for fluff. So dig deep, ask yourself why you are in business (other than to make a profit); remember the spark that made you start your business, join the company, have that idea and use it to light the touchpaper that will allow your brand to light up your customers and your employees.
This is not a call to be something you're not, to create spin or to polish something that is long dead. I ask you to recognise what is yours (and yours alone) that will be attractive to your audience - and here’s a clue, it has nothing to do with price.
Think of your brand in the same way as an introduction to a speech you are about to make. Wouldn’t it be great to be introduced as the person who has fans not customers, who has a loyal family not staff, who has customers who bake cakes for their birthday, who has customer comment cards that tell them that they can’t improve on their service levels?
These are real life results created by businesses that want to stand out by being true to what they believe in.
And what I love most of all about all of the companies I heard from was that they are profitable, market leaders, growing and most importantly, happy.