Daring to be different

Every now and then I come across a Ted Talk that makes me stop what I'm doing and spend 18 minutes learning something really useful.

Today, I watched an old Ted Talk from 2003 by a chap called Seth Godin and it got me thinking.  

Have I ever seen Starbucks advertising on TV?  Have I ever seen a Starbucks advert in a newspaper, magazine or journal?  Do Starbucks use vouchers to sell more or are they on any of those discount websites?  The answer to all these questions was 'no' and yet....

We have all heard of Starbucks, we've all purchased a drink from Starbucks and we've probably all been into a Starbucks cafe on a high street.  Some of us might even have a Starbucks card or Starbucks coffee at home.  How did this happen?

It's as though they moved their brand and their coffee into the living room of our unconscious mind, made us think of them as a comfortable sofa to be relied upon and used when needed and ever so gradually became a regular part of our lives.

How did they do this without advertising?

Firstly, they do advertise.  Their brand is all over the front of their coffee shops, cups, paper bags, merchandise and more.  Secondly, the experience you have in one Starbucks is pretty much like an other and thirdly, you want to go into a Starbucks because somewhere in the back of your mind you know they do some local charity stuff and definitely give their coffee growers a fair price for their coffee (you think and you hope).

Finally, they're everywhere.  So it's really hard to move in a city or sizeable town without coming across a Starbucks.  But, the same could be said of McDonalds and they spend fortunes on advertising.  So why do McDonald's spend that money when Starbucks have proved the business model of not advertising in traditional media.

It's about being different.  Even though most people have visited Starbucks in the past twelve months, it's still deemed to be a cool place to hang out and set your MacBook Air up to do some 'freelancing' or college work.  It's still a cool place to have a meeting with colleagues or establish a new connection with a potential business partner and you can still get free wifi, pay for one coffee and work there for four hours without anyone giving you grief.

So, it's not actually a place to buy coffee at all, it's a place to meet, learn, study, work and do business.  The coffee is simply the glue that holds it all together and people just get that.  They don't need to be told about it or be persuaded to go in there, they just know.

Think about running your business and not advertising your brand except on everything you deliver to your customers.  This includes people.  Your people have to deliver your brand in the way you want it to your customers in order to reinforce the experience of your brand.

And that's what being different comes down to.  It's about the experience you give to your customers.  It's how your customers feel when they interact with your people and your brand that really matters.  

Once you've made your customers feel really good about choosing you, the word will spread.  Slowly at first, but then faster and faster and faster, until you become the brand for your particular area of the market or expertise.  Focus on the experience.  Make your customers feel amazing and your business will be sufficiently different from everyone else to grow and grow healthily.

For insights into being different, improving your communication, leadership skills and more, contact Rebecca in one of three ways: rebecca@rebeccainspires.com 

www.rebeccainspires.com or 07734 934084