Don’t Let Them Put Your Business In a “Bucket”

We all seek to find powerful ways to differentiate our companies. We search for new ways to market, new strategies and the big new idea that will give power to our claim that our business is truly unique.

We may be missing the most important road block…Working off of a pre-determined “Bucket” of the industry you are in.

If you start off by saying you are a consulting firm, a travel agent, an accounting firm or an advertising agency then you are stuck in the constraints of what history has constructed those words mean to people. The road is then more difficult as you try to tell the story of why you are different than all of the rest.

Why not first try to create an entirely new bucket based on the problem you are solving, your purpose or the need you are trying to fill.

Consider this quote from Scott Goodson, chief creative officer of Strawberry Frog, a new breed of (Bucket omitted), talking about what they can do:

“..they are more like political movements for clients and their products”

Even the author of the article (about a new breed of ad agencies) immediately moves to place Mr. Goodson back into a bucket with this statement “Some of what Goodman says is hype – he’s and adman, for goodness’ sake”

Perhaps it is hype or “marketing speak” but I would rather someone tell me that they are going to turn my business into a political movement than they are going to manage my ad campaign (Better still if they show how their unique thinking will make it happen). Ad agencies conjure up my own ideas about what I can expect and why I should be skeptical. The longer you can keep me from connecting your business to my pre-conceived beliefs the better chance you have of helping me understand how you want to help me vs how I believe you cannot.

If someone is presenting their company to you in a way that is uncomfortable because it does not fit into an easy “frame” that you can relate to, try to live with the discomfort a bit and focus on what they are saying first. You won’t solve complex problems in fresh new ways by saying.. “We need to hire an __________.”

Think about what you are actually delivering for your customers/clients and focus the description of what you do around it.

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