Why are You Scared to Stand Out?

You want to know what the most frustrating part of being a marketing consultant is? It’s making clients understand that they shouldn’t be trying to mimic what their competition is doing. It’s making them understand that they want to stand out in the crowd, not blend in.

I’m a huge fan of Mad Men, so I’ll let Don Draper explain:

“Success is related to standing out, not fitting in. One wants to be the needle in the haystack, not the haystack.”


Sure, it might be more comfortable for you to blend in with the competition. When you stand out, you open yourself up for criticism. You put yourself out there for everyone to see. And frankly, that can be a little nerve-wracking.

But the simple truth is that if you want your company to be remarkably successful and not just average, you have to be willing to separate yourself from the pack. Because when you settle for being just another copycat company, your put very tight limits on your success.

Think of it this way. If your company looks and sounds like all of your competitors, why would any customer choose to do business with you instead of the competition? To the customer, you’d all be the same, so it wouldn’t really matter who they chose.

Just last week, I had a client who wanted Raxa Design to create a new logo for his company. We presented him with a few options, and he decided that he wanted something that was “more like the other companies in (his) industry.”

I was perplexed. Why would you want your logo to be indistinguishable from the logos of your competitors?

Look, I’m not picking on this client. Believe me, not a week goes by that I don’t deal with this exact situation.

I’ve had clients who want my copywriter to basically rewrite the copy their competitors use on their websites. I’ve had clients who want us to create marketing collateral that looks just like those used by their competition.

It’s easy to get caught up in focusing on what has worked for your competition in the past. And it is important to conduct a thorough competitor analysis. But if you ever want to surpass your competitors, you shouldn’t be focusing on what has worked in the past; you should be trying to figure out what will work next, in the future.

Before you employ any marketing tactic, ask yourself “Why am I doing this?” Is it because it will yield a measurable result for your company? Or is it because it’s what everyone else is doing, so you feel like you need to do it to?

Stop mimicking the competition and start finding ways to differentiate your company. Dare to be different.

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