I am often asked, “how can I stand out and get noticed?” The wording sometimes differs but the underlying question of how to be discovered in a sea of “me-too” competition is the same.
Many companies feel like they are playing an unwanted game of hide-and-seek with their customers and are trying desperately to be found, but have yet to be truly discovered.
For those that feel this way, here’s my advice…if you want to be discovered, try being profound. Said a different way:
If you are ‘pro’ being found, then be profound.
What do I mean?
Think of something that is profound. Something that is profound has a unique and deep sense of meaning that leads to action. It could be a profound sense of respect and honor felt by a black belt martial artist that leads her to find her inner strength. Or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s profound understanding of the human race that lead him to share his “dream.”
The same goes for businesses. To be found, you must offer something that is profound. You could provide profound customer service like PrintingForLess.com or Rackspace (though they call it “Fanatical Support”). Or you could provide a profound experience, like Build-A-Bear.
But before you set off to strategize the profoundness that is your company, you need to break apart the definition of “profound” to learn and apply its true meaning:
Unique and deep
First, to be found you must offer something that is unique. It cannot be a re-run that everyone in your industry has seen before (a company in syndication has lost its uniqueness). Nor can your profound offering be average or simply maintain the status quo. Profound is the opposite of profane – the everyday, ordinary things.
But it is not enough to be unique. A needle is uniquely different from a haystack; yet it is still difficult to find it in a haystack because it so closely resembles a single piece of straw that makes up the haystack (I think you would be much better off finding a spear in a haystack because the difference is not limited to materials but also differs in size). Your uniqueness should not be one-dimensional. It must be a deep and penetrating difference from anything else that is already offered in your industry.
Sense of meaning
Meaning inspires passion. It is a reason to get up in the morning. Meaning more closely resembles a hobby than a chore. Harley Davison’s sense of rugged adventure and Apple’s sense of style and user friendliness brings a sense of meaning to their employees and loyal followers just as Southwest Airlines’ sense of fun and customer service instills meaning into its employees and fans.
That leads to action
Your profound offering must be something that acts as a guiding force for the company, illuminates your course of action and inspires passion in employees and your customers. Being average or maintaining the status quo never inspires (just like your drab grey cubicle kingdom doesn’t stimulate the office energy).
All three of these interlocking parts must come into play in order to produce profound change and results. To represent it visually:
How can you be profound?