Get Annoyed

Do you want a truly unique and powerful brand? One sure approach is to solve a problem that none of your competitors have solved for customers of your industry. The first step? Figuring out what that problem is.

That seems to be the insurmountable stumbling block for most businesses. It’s just hard to look at your own industry or your own company objectively when you’ve been on the inside for awhile. And the longer you’ve been there, the harder it gets.

So try this. Start with an industry other than your own. Think about businesses you use, personally or professionally. Maybe it’s a delivery company. Or the cable company. Your phone service provider. Or a college. Or your dentist. Or the BMV.

Whoever it is, think about something that annoys you about that company or that industry. What is it about their product or their process that gets under your skin — especially something that seems obvious as a customer. How do they make it harder or less pleasant to do business with them?

Once you’ve picked a business and an irksome issue, ask yourself this: how you would advise them to solve it if you had the ability to do so? What do you think they should do? How much would it cost? How much could they gain from it? Where would they start? How long would it take? And how should they get the word out once it’s done?

Now that you’re warmed up, let’s circle back to your own industry. What’s something about the way your industry (or if you’re truly fearless, your own company) does business or what it offers that probably annoys customers? How can you change it for the better? What steps are involved? Who has to be on board? What would it take to sell them?

If you’re still stuck, here’s one more option. Ask a customer. Better yet, ask a former customer. Or if you’re feeling very, very brave — we’re talking Arya Stark killing the Night King brave — put the question out there on social media.

The good news — and this is really good news — is that you’ll be the only company in your industry to do this. And that comes with a competitive advantage big enough to supersize any brand.

And because we can’t mention this often enough, the value of a true brand is…lower cost of customer acquisition, higher customer retention, lower team turnover, higher profitability, etc. So find out what’s annoying about your industry or your company and get to work fixing it. You’ll be glad you did.