Only We

What happens when your brand or product has a distinct point of view that could only come from one person? You.

Marketing has always been about being noticed and separating yourself from the competition. In a uber-crowded world, how can you find how to be different and to do it in a way that your customers care about your distinctive approach?

Entrepreneurs, brand managers and those in charge of developing businesses often have a default button that say, “my competitor is successful. I’ll do what she is doing”.  This is not the path to success and glory. Many start up brands get thwarted when they realized they can’t be Red Bull or Haagen Dazs or In and Out Burger. 

But when a brand can find their special voice and bring their own personality, flair and world view to their work, they can stand out from the crowd. 

Start Here: Ask you this remarkably simple question:

What can our brand do that ONLY WE can do?

Read it again.

What can our brand do that ONLY WE can do?

Only we is a powerful phrase. Right?

Force yourself to ask this difficult question that requires you to draw on the special view you have of your world. How do you add your touch, your flair and your belief on your brand or product that reflects an impossible to imitate approach? Maybe it is how you sell, or where you sell or what you sell. The key is in finding your, "only we".  The inspiration often comes from within some a person not some committee. 

Ben & Jerry did ice cream like only they could do it. Not formally trained in ice cream making, branding, marketing or business. They just liked to eat ice cream that had stuffed mixed into it. 

During a wine marketing event that I hosted in the Napa area, I sat next to a woman who used to work for Ben & Jerry’s. She told me some wonderful stories about working for them that were both funny and touching. Our conversation reminded of my wonderfully serendipitous connection to Ben & Jerry last week.

In 1980, out of the blue, I picked up the phone and called Ben Cohen. 

At the time, I was 26 and didn’t realize that you couldn’t call someone who was so well-known. My wife and I had our bakery business, Rachel’s Brownies, and we were always looking for ways that we could sell more brownies (stay focused) and find new channels of distribution. I wondered, could we sell our brownies that Ben & Jerry could mix into an ice cream like they did with their chocolate chunks and big pieces of fruit. 

I thought that it could be an "only we" moment. Only we (Rachel's Brownies) could make a brownie ice cream with Ben & Jerry. 

Jerry & Ben 
The story of meeting with Ben & Jerry is told in detail in this post when we met them for sushi in NYC. The point of mentioning this is that it occurred to me that IF we could work with Ben & Jerry’s, only we (Rachel’s Brownies) could be the brand of brownies, mixed into an ice cream flavor sold by the leading brand of super premium ice cream. And, our customers, would have a new way of experiencing our brand that would be different and meaningful to them.

We were successful and for many years they sold a Rachel’s Brownies Ice Cream that helped establish our brand and point of difference.

The marketing lesson in this story is that you can’t look to your competitors or others in your category to find your “only we”.  It has to come from you, from your world view and how you think you can add your special touch to the brand.  Think Steve Jobs. Think Elon Musk. Think Jeff Bezos. There is no reason why you can't have your own, "only we" approach with your brand too. 

For our modest bakery, our values and brand promised aligned with Ben & Jerry’s. In the 1970's, 80's and 90's, there were dozens of companies selling brownies to the same channels that we sold. Only we partnered with Ben & Jerry's to make a Rachel's Brownies Ice Cream.

But this special partnership gave us prominence through association. We shared in and borrowed a little ‘hippie energy’ from our new found friends in this venture. To Ben & Jerry, our partnership was minor and small but to our brownie brand, it was an important part of our story that we told over and over again. 

And only we could claim it. 

Making Scents
One more example from some recent consulting work I did with a young woman who wants to start a yoga practice. She told me that she is trying to find a hook, something unique to herself that only she could bring into the world. We talked through several ideas and she described how she uses essential oils in the class with each pose to help connect an emotional feeling to the pose. I said to her, that's your "only we". 

Think of merging the word Yoga and the word Aroma. YogAroma. Find a way to have this be your signature approach to yoga so that your clients will be able to do the marketing for you. They will tell their friends that they took this wonderful yoga class and the instructor combined these amazing essential oils during the class to make this an experience like no other. Smells like a great idea to me. 

So go ahead. Find your ‘only we’. Namaste. 

Would you jump for joy if you could find your 'only we'? Maybe an hour of marketing coaching could help you find a path forward. Contact me through this link on Clarity where you can learn more about marketing coaching by the moment. 

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