How rebels, pirates and outcasts will boost your brand

To grow your business boosting your brand is vital but how are you going to do it – especially with the tiny marketing budget you have?

The temptation is to compare your business to your competitors and hope that copying them will work. However, not only is that the slippery slope to being boring but also to being totally ignored by potential customers.

Instead, you need to look to rebels, pirates and outcasts to be successful in competing for your customer’s attention. Of course I am not recommending bad behaviour here but I am recommending that you do something to ensure your business is distinctive, original, unique, quirky, exceptional, special, useful, interesting, noteworthy and outrageous – that it stands out from all the rest and this will boost your brand.

So how could you find a way to develop your business in a distinctive way? These ideas should help.

Look at the industry leader

A great starting place is to consider the current leader in your industry. What could they do to be more unique? Would it involve the product or service they are selling or the way they engage with their customers? Where are the gaps between what they offer and what their customers want?

I’ll bet you can find a number of ways that you could transform their business to be more exceptional. It’s always easy to do it when you are standing back and looking at a business which isn’t your own.

So now you have a choice, either give them a call to recommend some changes they could make or find a way to incorporate these ideas to make your business special and reap the rewards for yourself.

Use your creativity to boost your brand and surprise the hell out of the industry leader. They will wish they had thought of it first.

Focus on your best customers

What if you could make or provide a highly exclusive, limited edition, top-end version of your product or service to your 20 top customers? What would it be? What would delight them, ensure their never-ending loyalty and provide some great sales for you? Go on, be creative and imagine your business producing this incredible product or service.

Now try to find a way to make it happen.

It might not be the product or service you will sell to everyone (at least not at first) but it will certainly ensure that you are creating uniqueness and boosting your brand for the best customers and it can develop from there.

Consider also the big communities and networks in your market. The ones that everyone knows about, or is involved in. Could you create a special version of your product or service just for them and their supporters?

People love to belong and to be part of a group which has many other members. They also love to be seen as part of the group so they will love to be able to buy something which is created uniquely for the group. You know this is true – that’s why sports fans want to buy clothing that connects them to one team rather than another.

You just need to pinpoint what you could offer them that will identify them as part of the network.

Convert your thinking

What if you suddenly woke up and you had turned into a rebel, a pirate or an outcast? What would be the first change you would make in your business? Would you dare to do something that no-one else in your industry does – something which scares you a bit but delights you a lot?

You control how you think about your business and how you can boost your brand and it is never too late to start making changes to help you to stand out in the market.

You might not want to wear a black hat and an eye patch and carry your parrot around on your shoulder but you could couldn’t you?

You could also decide to be different to all your competitors, to focus your business on what really matters to you or to treat your customers in a whole new way that makes them happy and very loyal.

If you realise that being the same as everyone else is going to cause you to work harder and yet be less successful then converting your thinking and boosting your brand by becoming exceptional and individualistic is the way to go.

Make your brand story a human story

People (and for that read customers) don’t want to hear a story about a brand or about products or services. They want to hear a story about people and what matters to those people or what they had to overcome to get the business to happen.

They also want to hear about customers and how your product or service made a difference for them. They want real stories, real characters and real life.

Provide it for them and you will stand out like the rebellious marketer you know you want to be.

Tell stories about the original reason you started the business, the quirky way you like to help others or the distinctive way you like to look after your customers and staff. Tell stories that are heart-warming, hilarious or a bit peculiar.

To boost your brand you need to tell stories that are likely to be repeated, shared and liked and these are human stories with a rebellious, piratical or outcast perspective to them when compared to your competitors.

People don’t share the bland or the boring – you won’t find exciting tall tales of accountants and dentists – to stand out and boost your brand you need to be a rebel, a pirate, an outcast.

Focus on being a rebel with a cause

If you could change anything in the world today what would it be? Would it be easier to make the change if you could do it with a tribe of other people?

Your values and beliefs can boost your brand if you use your rebellious nature to create change by leading others who want that change to happen too. If your business starts a way of supporting a change you want to see and allows others to join into the drive for change something magical will happen.

Most people wait for someone else to get a great new initiative underway and then they happily join in so here’s your opportunity to lead the charge. Start small and allow the tribe to grow and encourage them to share the responsibility for achieving results.

Whether it’s reducing waste going into landfill, improving health with better food, keeping plastic out of the sea or any of a million ways that you want to make a difference then find a way to incorporate this into your business model and be that nonconformist, exceptional business you always wanted to be while being more successful so you can drive more change.

Business should not just be about the financial bottom line. Decide what your rebel bottom line is and communicate with other rebels with the same beliefs to really make a difference.

Don’t be afraid of trying new ideas

You may be reading this article and thinking – that’s all very well but what if my idea or ideas don’t work?

The best method of finding the way to be a business rebel, pirate or outcast is to have lots of ideas and to then carefully test them with your target audience. You don’t need to expose everyone to all the ideas – you can test an idea on a smaller part of the market and then utilise the feedback you get to make changes or to develop better ideas.

If you don’t test your ideas because you think they might not work then guess what – no one will ever know just how wonderfully distinctive you really are. And your business will be bland, grey, boring and just like all your competitors. And you will have to continually work really, really hard to get your customers and potential customers to notice you and remember you. Now that sounds like a terrible business strategy doesn’t it?

You can also get others to help you to develop unique and interesting ways to be different. Create fun brainstorming sessions with your staff or your friends and get everyone’s great and crazy ideas. You probably won’t use many of them but some could be the gems you are looking for.

Read for inspiration

Which brands really appeal to you? Check out their websites and find out what they are about and why they are distinctive. The most well-known will have had news items written about them.

Instead of spending your time reading about missing cats and break-ins on social media seek out stories of businesses which are distinctive and proud of it. Read articles about businesses which are rebellious. Read books about how being unique in your branding can help you.

Here’s an article I wrote recently which has lots of great ideas  16 perfect ways to create business uniqueness

There are so many great businesses and business ideas that can inspire you to think of ways to stand out and be non-conformist if you do google searches and check them out.

It will also help you to realise that standing out and being distinctive is not a bad thing but a way to boost your brand and support your inner pirate. You don’t want to live life in the boring part of the business world do you? Seek out other businesses that are happy to be original and find inspiration from their ideas and their success.

Be consistent and be patient

Once you create your ideas and test and adapt them then you have to be consistent. Every part of your branding has to match these ideas to ensure that you are presenting an authentic story. You cannot be a pirate one day and a grasshopper the next. Whatever your uniqueness is you need to stick with it and ensure that your target audience have time to learn about you and remember you.

You also need to be patient. It takes time to become an overnight success. People need to find you, hear about you, like the way you do business and be attracted to your story before they will tell others and become regular customers.

Nothing this wonderful will happen in a short period of time but it will happen if you believe in yourself and your business.

Of course being remarkable means that some people won’t like you standing out and will disagree with your way of doing business. That’s fine. Just don’t change to being bland just to please those people. You cannot please everyone so be prepared to have some detractors and move on. The more successful your business is the more likely they are to change their mind anyway.

Hopefully you can see now how rebels, pirates and outcasts can boost your brand and potentially bring some delight into your life and the lives of others. And now I am off to get some crackers for my parrot.

©Robyn Forryan

The Biz Coach NZ

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