Now more than ever, your company’s success is determined by how clearly you define and communicate your core values and qualities. In short, it’s all about what you stand for. What do you stand for? Whether your business is established or new, you have to know what you stand for before your customers can know. Do you know? What is it that makes you stand out? What separates you from the competition? You may be thinking that you have excellent customer service, a quality product or solid reputation. Guess what? So does everyone else. You need to think more deeply and thoroughly about what makes your business distinctive and unique.
Why does it matter? While it may be worthy to note that you have a quality product and great service, these qualities, in themselves, are not enough to distinguish you from the crowd. In today’s overcrowded marketplace, your success is determined by your clarity about what you stand for and how you communicate that purpose to the world. Knowing what you and your company stand for is the competitive advantage in any industry. It’s how you stand out. So, step out of the crowd. Stand for something.
Knowing what you stand for makes everything perform efficiently with purpose, including hiring, business decisions, marketing campaigns and internal communications. It guides you in hiring the right people that have the same values and purpose. It leads to better company morale and less turnover.
Look closely at some truly great companies, outstanding companies, and memorable companies. You’ll see that they offer good products— sometimes, great products—though most of all they stand out because they make a difference in people’s lives. And they make defining their purpose an integral part of who they are and what they do.
Author Jim Collins in his book Good To Great says: “What you stand for should be the basis for every decision and the touchstone for all your actions. What you stand for should be clear to every employee, vendor and colleague in your business. And it should be consistent across every channel of communication. What you stand for shapes the impact you have on the world and makes the difference between building a company that is ordinary or extraordinary.”
What you stand for shapes the impact you have on the world.
Identifying the characteristics that distinguish a company from its competitors has never been more essential for success than it is now. Online reach and global media have drawn every industry in to international focus. With these changes come expanded opportunities, but also expanded exposure. If a company does not tell its own story, someone else may very well tell one about them.
The question has become not only how can you stand out, but what will you stand for? It’s crucial that you direct how your business distinguishes itself in the marketplace.
Standing out is a function of several things—understanding and promoting the purpose behind your business and what guides you to do what you do; identifying your authentic self—your company’s personality and personal stories and then integrating these into your marketing and communications efforts; and finally managing and promoting your reputation within the landscape of different communication media.
Check in next week for a few examples of organizations that are considered the top of their class when it comes to standing out.