Even English poet Robert Frost understood it better than a lot of marketers, when he said,
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
He of course had other issues in mind when he uttered those immortal lines. But on that note, allow me to ask you, when was the last time you were credited for doing something totally different?
If you want to survive the intense competition, be it on a personal level or organizational level, this is the question you need to ask yourself freqeuntly. And answer in the affirmative even more frequently.
There is absolutely no truth in the common wisdom held very closely by people , which is not being different simply for the sake of being different. Differentiation pays – even when the differentiation seems illogical or irrelevant. Here is an example.
Virgin Atlantic thought giving massage during flight is an exciting idea. When people heard about it, they laughed. Does it have anything to do with – service quality, ticket price, additional frills, comfort of seating etc.? NO. Does it seem relevant to their core business? NO. Is it a workable differentiating idea? You Bet. They have taken a good chunk in the already hyper competitive market from none other than British Airways
So next time, when you think about a crazy idea that can help you stand out, allow yourself the luxury of actually indulging in it. Because even seemingly illogical idea can be a powerful differenting idea.
More importantly, to choose between a tried and tested, logical strategy and a “seemingly-never-done-before-no-where-near-to-what-others-are-doing” strategy – sometimes the second option creates better results.