This is a fact-finding mission, and whether you like it or not, it's all about YOU.

Okay, so you're shy? You don't like to talk about yourself. Well, for the good of your brand, you're going to have to suck it up.

Trust me: Others are going to love talking about you.

Your brand must stand out from the competition. Your values, vision and mission must be unique…and you, as a person, must showcase your uniqueness, too.

Why? Because if you and your brand blend in with all the others, there will be no good reason for your ideal customers to choose you, and your business will suffer and eventually perish.

Sound a little harsh? Not at all.

It's the truth, and there's no way to sugar-coat that.

Even if you do have a solid grasp on the importance of being unique in your marketplace, it can still be difficult to name those things that make you unique, specifically. You see, you have lived with yourself since birth. You see the world in your state, and you don't really know any other way. You haven't had the privilege of seeing and interacting with yourself, as an outsider. And chances are that you take all that's special about you for granted.

Do you know how many gifts you have that others want? Do you know how many times you have breezed through a situation whilst others were left struggling? And do you realise just how much you affect others' lives on a daily basis, just by being you?

I think now is a good time to impart some advice I have compiled from the How to Build a Brand archives…all about how to find the uniqueness that is YOU so you can bring that to the marketplace, to gain attention for your brand and keep that attention with exceptional, unmatched customer experiences.

Let's get started.

Learn About You...And Use It

There are plenty of people who have an opinion about what makes you unique—and you'll never even consider many of them. That's why I've compiled a list (with a little how-to mixed in) for asking all the right people for their thoughts on what you have to offer.

  • unique-brandWho is your most significant childhood friend? Get in touch and ask him or her what they most vividly remember about hanging out with you. Unless you were the only other kid in the neighbourhood, there was a reason (or a number of reasons) they came over to play. Find out what those reasons were and write them down. These are noteworthy, because this was YOU in your purest form, unfettered by adult pressures or social concerns. This is also the YOU that your most loyal clients should be experiencing today.
  • Who is that one person who worked with you first—and for a significant amount of time? Maybe you started out flipping burgers alongside each other, or running a summer camp together or maybe you worked in adjacent cubicles. Whomever it is, get in touch and ask this simple question: "What is different about working alongside me?" This person will remember you, and they will remember you for very specific reasons. Write down what they say, because many of the qualities you displayed then have endured up until now (for good reason).
  • Who is your best friend today? Sometimes, this person knows you better than anyone. They've seen you at your worst and your best, and they've seen you touch the lives of others like only you can. This person loves spending time with you. Why? Just ask them. The answers you get will be raw…and overflowing with truth.
  • If you have a romantic partner, ask him or her about the qualities that make you unique. This is the person that has interacted with you at all hours of the day and night, and who has unmatched insight into what makes you different than all the rest. After all, isn't that why he or she chose you? Because you were different from the rest? Use what you learn to enhance your unique profile.
  • Your current customers have seen something in your brand that sets it apart from the rest, and so you can't overlook these treasure troves of information. What made them choose your brand? What endeared them to it and what made them feel a connection to you? What does your brand have or do that the others either can't achieve or haven't tried? Your ideal customers, as a group, all have something in common. Your current customers have chosen you for the same reasons that future customers will choose you. Find out what those reasons are, and you will attract more ideal customers in less time and with less effort.
  • Consult with past and present team members. When you work with a team, whether that's on the football field, in a theatrical presentation, in a business capacity…you are likely to bring what you do best, because the others have the rest covered. Ask your old and current team members what they've noticed about what you brought to the group, and how you exceled in that role. What do they remember about how you advanced your team to victory?
  • Have a talk with those you have led. If you've ever been in a leadership position, there were a number of people noticing what was unique about you. Everyone evaluates their leaders: Do I like this person? Does this person have the expertise to do this job well? Is this person motivational? Does this person make me want to work toward our common goal? All of those you have led have asked themselves these questions. Now is your time to ask them what their answers were.
  • The business associates who choose to work with your brand also made a choice…and they chose to partner with your brand, in some way or another, for reasons that benefit them and their businesses. What are those reasons? What did they see in your brand that made them think it would be a profitable partnership? This matters, and the things you naturally do to make these impressions are the things that will grow your brand and keep it in business.
  • And finally, there's the most overlooked group. The outsiders—the people who have no idea what you do, why you do it, whom you serve or how you're changing your industry. These are people who will never need your service (or who don't yet know they'll need it). They might be part of a different industry, a different target audience or a different generation. Ask them what they think you do, and you'll gain invaluable insight into how your brand and your industry are perceived. Are you insulted by an answer? Then that feeling is a gateway into discovering what makes you different. You are doing something unique to the way the industry has been built and perceived. Are you surprised? Are you dumbfounded? Remember that even though these perceptions may be incorrect (or at least incorrect of your particular brand), they are valid because what matters are others' perceptions of your brand, not your own. Use what is unique about you to colour those perceptions…for the betterment of your brand, your market and the entire industry.

I trust that the above points will put you on the path to discovering who you are as a business owner and an individual—and that you will use what you learn to build a brand that is distinctive enough to gain attention and exceptional enough to keep it.

Are you looking for a network of professionals that you can connect with on the level suggested above? And you don't have the funds to invest in big networking organisations? Then the How to Build a Brand Facebook group is perfect for you. Simply click here and ask to join. And then get connecting! It's FREE!

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