Earlier this year, I found myself unexpectedly swept up into a show called The Shark Tank. A ‘reality’ TV show in which people with innovative ideas pitch to a panel of wealthy business people – the eponymous ‘sharks’ – in the hope that one or more of them will bite and invest a chunk of their own cash in exchange for a hunk of the business
The five judges in the Australian version – tech investor Steve Baxter, real estate entrepreneur John McGrath, Boost Juice founder Janine Allis, Talent2 MD Andrew Banks and RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson – put up their own money for the deals.
What caught my attention was investor Steve Baxter’s comment;
“The deal breaker for me on any investment is always the character, skills and attitude of the person behind the business.”Steve Baxter
Steve understands that the driving force, the spirit and the attitude behind any brand is the key that makes the difference. À la Richard Branson as case in point. His comment nailed it for me and prompted me to write this post.
THE ONE THING YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED.
It comes down to this: there’s really only one “must” in branding – a unique perspective or attitude. Everything else, even great design, is only an opportunity to make a greater impact from there.
Brands that fall flat are either lacking it, or faking it, by mimicking somebody else’s unique view of the world.
Your unique perspective is a set of strongly held beliefs and values that guide you. It is both how you see the world and what you want for the world; it’s what you think matters the most. Whether you call it your perspective, philosophy, or point-of-view — it’s all the same — it represents a critical starting point for your brand.How you see things differently is everything. Your insight into the world, your industry, and your customers’ lives is what your noteworthy brand will be built upon.
When you lead with perspective, you’ll be in good company. Think about the campaigns that have led to the iconic status of brands like Nike and Apple. Think about what gets politicians elected. What makes a particular artist’s style resonate with you deeply.
They show you the world through their eyes.
KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.
This is an easy step to miss in the branding process because we often take our perspective of the world for granted.
But, in my experience, there is always something that you see that others are missing. There is always a new way of thinking or being that you’re bringing to the table. When you find that, you will find the fertile soil upon which to grow your brand.
It’s the catalyst behind the strategies and actions that will form your compelling brand presence.
The key is to recognize your differing point of view and act on it.
First, you need to get clear on your purpose, your values, and your vision for the world.
Then you translate that world-view into something tangible for your customers to experience. Here’s a good old fill-in-the-blank prompt to help you do that.
I believe […enter a belief or value here…], so I […identify what you do about it…].
The power is in the alignment. By tying your unique way of doing things to values or beliefs that you hold strongly, you’re building a substantial and original brand.
This is your brand in action, not one tidy statement to sum everything up.
Here’s an example from my own business:
I believe that there’s always a way to succeed as your authentic self, so I help business visionaries do amazing things by helping them learn, think and act like a brand. See how I’ve aligned my signature offer directly to one of my strongest beliefs?
Here are some great examples from business owners making their mark on the world:
- Abigail (Abigail Rose Clarke) believes radical embodiment is key to personal and professional development, so she helps people get radically comfortable in their own skin as they move their businesses forward.
- Illana (Makeness Media) believes that integrity is the center point of satisfying and successful solopreneurship, so she looks for opportunities to debunk all things less-than integrity driven and teaches others to look for ways to bring their most integral work to the masses.
- Rachel Allen (bolt from the blue copywriting) believes that words are the most powerful force you can use to connect with other people, so she writes copy that makes people fall in love with unusually interesting businesses from word one.
- Kristin Jacobsen (NextGen) believes that it’s crazy that there is $143 Billion of personal debt in Australia and that 85% of retiree’s rely on some level of government benefit as an income source, in a country of ample employment opportunity and entrepreneurship, so he educates, empowers and enables people to live a life of purpose through financial independence.
- Rachel Tosh (The Speech Parent – coming soon!) believes that every child has a unique contribution to make in the world and can reach their potential with the right early intervention so she’s empowering and educating parents to support their communication, literacy and feeding development.
These are all compelling and resonant points-of-view that help a brand establish itself and stand out!
What is the unique point-of-view you’re bringing to your industry, and what are you doing as a result?