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Deepen Your Differentiation

Posted by Ilise Benun on

You’re very good at what you do. You’ve got the right skills, plenty of experience, and a sweet portfolio. So, why doesn’t more business come your way?

Maybe you’re not standing out from the crowd.

The structure of the creative industry (thousands of small firms rather than a few large ones) means that many firms are targeting the same people you are. And, to your target audience, it’s hard to tell the difference between you all.

You’ve probably already chosen a target market, or chosen to market a particular skill set. A web designer is more specific (and therefore visible) than a graphic designer, and a motion graphics specialist is more specific still.

You know all that, and so you’ve already differentiated yourself as much as you rationally can.

Maybe it’s time to look at differentiation from a less rational perspective.

Your values, your beliefs, and your passions are why you do what you do every day, and the reason you do it the way you do it. More importantly, they’re the reason people buy from you instead of a qualified competitor.

So, how about adding some you into your mix?

You’re still a packaging designer or advertising copywriter. You may still focus on one industry or another. But by integrating your values, beliefs and passions into your strategy, you’ll not only be more differentiated – you’ll get more from all of your marketing and sales efforts.

How can you incorporate your personality into your mix? Here’s how we did it for Acuity Consulting, Inc., a management consulting firm.

The firm’s partners are old-fashioned in every sense of the word. They favor the tried and true. Simpler is better, and they’d rather fix your existing system than have you buy a new one.

We expressed their values by keeping the design simple. The central element of the design encourages visitors to “Click Where It Hurts.” The style and pragmatic approach of the suggestions mirror the principals’ pragmatism and simplicity, and are consistent with the way the firm delivers its services when engaged by clients.

The approach has produced measurable results. Web statistics show more user engagement, including more hits and longer stays on the site. More info available here.

You can put the same technique to work for your firm. You’ll find it easier to get and keep attention, and once you have it, to gain rapport and trust. Moreover, you’ll have a built-in advantage in sales situations where several qualified firms are competing. You’ll get clients that you like (and that like you), and that are therefore more likely to refer you.

Implement your “right brain” based differentiation everywhere – your brochure, your web site, and your elevator pitch. You can even use it to shape your choice of networking venues and your use of social media.

Need one more reason to build some “you” into your brand? Nobody can steal your brand, if your brand is you.

Thanks to Luis Maimoni of Fresh Graphics in Long Beach CA.

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