I once heard a comment from someone that his work is so unique that he couldn’t find any competitors; therefore, he couldn’t position himself for marketing purposes.
It is often easy to think that what we do is wholly original and our situations are unique. Let me burst that bubble for our collective benefit – almost nothing we do and sell is utterly original or unique.
How I became the person that I am today might be unique (my experience and story) but what I do ‘rhymes’ with others who came before me and there are plenty of people who do ‘similar things’ if not more or less the same.
When Steve Jobs came out with iPod (and a series of products after that), he could have just said that it’s an entirely unique device for playing music. There was nothing like it circa 2002. So how did they position iPod?
1000 Songs in your pocket.
Sure, there were plenty of MP3 players but the iPod was something else entirely. The simple positioning statement above made it possible for the general public who didn’t know that they needed such a device to ‘relate’ to the wholly new thing.
No matter how unique our thing is, it is our job to find something that people can relate to. Positioning ourselves (or our products) goes beyond merely looking for ‘competitors’. After all, what we are competing against isn’t other people or their products. We are competing for space in our audience’s mind. People’s minds are cluttered with tons of stuff, and sometimes much more than they can reasonably handle!
We become memorable not from insisting how original we are but from giving people a hook they can hang their hat on. That hook can only be created when we search for and answer our audiences’ hopes and desires.
What is your hook?