How to Make Your Brand Wildly Unique and World Class
Years ago, when I was much newer to my practice, I went to hear motivational speaker, Keith Abraham, speak. I was so thrilled to be in the same room as him, as he was one of the people that I really looked up to and admired in the consulting space. At that stage, I had never had a paid speaking event and had never spoken in front of more than 50 people. So, I was in awe of him and really felt that I was sitting in the room with genius.
I will never forget the moment in his speech, however, when he mentioned the multiple mentors that he had and was currently working with. These people were coaches, advisors and mentors that he used to elevate his own practice.
I was shocked.
Someone as impressive as Keith needed mentors?
Hasn’t he already ‘made it’?
But over time I’ve come to realise that the best, the exceptional leaders among us always need mentors. Because they simply aren’t willing to rest on what they already do well. They’re always striving to be better. They’re always looking to move from great to exceptional.
The Art of Exceptionality
One of the biggest challenges the clients I work with a face is positioning. They often ask questions like:
‘How do I cut away from the pack and differentiate myself from everyone else?’
‘How do I work with the right level in organisations?’
‘How can I gain more referrals and leads?’
‘How can I get a high paying job?’
‘Every time I find my unique positioning, someone comes into the space!’
We’re often told that the best way to position ourselves is through differentiation – demonstrating what makes us unique or special. The problem here is that differentiating yourself simply isn’t enough. Pretty soon people catch up to you. And if you’re doing something great, they’ll begin to copy you.
You might then evolve your business or practice, and differentiate yourself again. Only to find the same thing happening… again. So you get tired and frustrated because, despite your hard work, you’re simply plain vanilla.
And when you’re plain vanilla you aren’t getting noticed. You aren’t getting the gigs. Or if you are getting gigs, they’re just average gigs (while others around you seem to be getting better and better gigs or better and better paying jobs).
The world is incredibly noisy today. It’s harder to stand out whether you’re building a personal brand or a practice, looking to elevate your leadership or simply job seeking. But exceptionality is the key to doing just that.
Different + Better = Exceptional
As the model above demonstrates, it’s at the intersection of uniqueness and continuous improvement that we find our way to exceptionality.
In other words, being different and better makes us exceptional.
The effort we’ve put into being different or unique hasn’t been wasted. This is our first step. But often people work out how they’re unique and then stop there. And that’s because they’ve never been told that being unique is good, but being better is vital.
It’s the striving towards improvement – to becoming better – that elevates that uniqueness to the level of exceptionality.
The Dalai Lama said, ‘As free human beings we can use our unique intelligence to try to understand ourselves and our world. But if we are prevented from using our creative potential, we are deprived of one of the best characteristics of a human being’.
We all have a unique intelligence and vast creative potential. We just have to tap into it and continue to grow it daily.
Striving towards exceptionality
How we strive to embrace our creative potential and move towards exceptionality will look different for each of us. Keith Abraham utilised expert mentors and coaches to help him reach his next best self. Maybe courses or upskilling might be the thing for you. Whatever it is, it must be part of your daily activities. You must continuously improve in order to be better.
Why does exceptionality matter?
When you are exceptional you get referred very easily. In fact, experts list ‘exceeding expectations as the number one item that makes you referrable. And referral marketing is one of the most important avenues we have of marketing our business.
A Nielson survey reveals that referral marketing is the most trusted, with referrals between B2B companies leading to a 70% higher conversion rate and a 69% faster close time on sales. So, being easily referrable is a fantastic way to market your business and drive your own growth.
What holds you back?
At the end of the day, I think most of us want to be exceptional. We want to be world-class. But sometimes we’re held back, often by the fear of putting ourselves out there. We’re held back by a feeling that we might not be exceptional. And that people are going to see through us, and realise that. When we embrace these fear-driven ideas and let them take root in our minds, then we’re actually creating our own deprivation. We’re giving into the noise.
You can achieve your potential
It’s my firm belief that we all have the opportunity to achieve our potential – to have the businesses, careers and lives we’ve all dreamt of. We are living in an era where we have unprecedented access to opportunity and growth. If there was ever a time to elevate into your exceptionality, it’s now! The new book “Exceptionality; How to Make Your Brand Wildly Unique and World Class” will be released in July 2022.
So, let’s get started!
What do you think about exceptionality? I’d love to hear your thoughts…