Being Unique – Stand Out Or Outstanding?
We human beings as a race are a very small miniscule element in the scheme of things of the universe. Individually we are even more insignificant. But human beings are unique in the sense that they can do things that other species can’t. We can think and think beyond a simple concept of survival that is the single point of focus for all other species. That is what is unique with human beings. But how do we develop out own uniqueness among the billons of us on mother earth.
Uniqueness is someone or something is unlike anything else in comparison. When used in relation to people it is often in relation to a person's personality or some specific characteristics of it. Uniqueness is that trait that makes people remember us and distinguishes us from all the other people.
Marketing has a concept, Unique selling proposition (USP). Unique Selling Proposition is that proposition, offer, benefit or feature that a brand has that no other brand possesses. ‘The anytime 30 minute delivery of Pizza’ promise of Domino’s is an example. Similarly QSV (Quality, service and value) at an affordable price is the USP of MacDonald. Combined with its ever smiling staff and trendy ambience made MacDonald the most popular snacking joint of the world.
Interestingly the uniqueness of the product could be a perception in the mind too. The product or the service might not have anything unique to offer but the in the customers’ mind the product or service has something unique to offer. It is not just enough to have unique points of difference from others. It should be perceived too. All of us might be great human beings, great workers and great team players. We might be doing a great job the work place. But it should be perceived in the same way. Performance and perception are two different things. A person might be doing a great job but does his boss perceive it in the same way? There would be limited growth if perception does not match with performance.
PUF (Polyethylene Foam) is the foam that is used in all refrigerators. But Godrej brand of refrigerators was the first to use it in their marketing campaigns. And it clicked. Even today people remember Godrej as the refrigerator with PUF. And PUF has been used in refrigerator for many years but it has registered in the customers mind that PUF means Godrej.
All toothpastes have Clove oil. But it was Promise the tooth paste brand that went to the marketplace and made it their USP. And the association of the clove oil with toothpaste has remained with Promise ever since.
The problem with fixed deposits with banks is that they remain fixed. That Money can’t be withdrawn before the maturity date. Grindley Bank came out with a very unique concept. They did a campaign “Unfix the fixed deposit”. It was a very simple idea. The scheme allows customers to draw up to a maximum of 75% as a loan on their fixed deposit. Even though the concept was very simple the uniqueness was in the way it was communicated to the customers. “Unfix the fixed deposits” remains a hall mark of great creativity and unique thinking style.
There are millions and millions of taglines that I have read (taglines are those two are three words that are always associated with the brand) for example Intel Inside, Hamara Bajaj, Open Happiness are all tag lines. But the unique tagline that I can’t forget is “We can fix anything except broken hearts”. What a unique tagline! The Unique selling Proposition of Quickfix was that it can stick or bind any broken material. Instead of saying that with lots of words and pompous visuals, Quickfix went to the town with “We can fix anything except broken hearts” tagline. Anything in the word that is broken, Quickfix can fix it quickly. But if a heart is broken, sorry guys!
Similar is Jenson and Nicholson’s tag line “whenever you see colour think of us”. What a unique way of driving home the point that Jensen and Nicholson is all about colours. So whenever we see any color including a white sheet we are reminded of Jenson and Nicolson.
Why is home food the best food in the world? We fantasize about food. Many of us dream of having a lavish food outlay at a costly five star. Surprise, surprise! Most five star food is very exciting when you have it for the first time. But if you have it repeatedly, most five star foods are as appetizing as yesterday’s morning’s coffee served today! Five star menus are very rich in calories, have much butter and ghee and they have no souls.
Most of the food tastes same. Once I had to stay in a five star hotel for a week. After the first day, I was eating white rice, dal, curd rice and salads. Home food is comfort food. What is unique about ghar ka khana as immortalized by the Fortune Oil advertisement where a very sick person in hospital years craves for home food? His stern nurse refuses the mother from serving the sick man what he craves for - home food. The nurse continuously refuses as the sick person is allowed to have a only the diet as prescribed by the hospital’s dietician.
Finally the nurse relents and the sick man is served the food prepared by his mothers. Home food prepared hygienically, with lot of effort and oodles of love. It is said that the lady of the house has a love affair with food. She cajoles, pleads, and lovingly puts in the right ingredients. The end result is a simple yet the most beautiful and unforgettable experience every time we enjoy home cooked food. And we never get bored of home food!
Shammi Kapoor, Rajanikanth and Ravi Teja: The three movie starts that I always admired are Shammi Kapoor, Rajanikanth and Ravi Teja. In an era that was dominated by Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Rajendra Kumar, Shammi Kapoor carved a niche for himself by being exactly the opposite to the other big three. He created an image of a fun loving, totally unpretentious and lovable common man. He fooled around, yodeled, made faces and danced outrageously .But he stood out as the most lovable movie star of the 70s and 80s. Who can forget his idiotic dance movements from the Movie Junglee? The copy rights of the word Yahoo should be given to the makers of Junglee who made Shammi scream Yahoo repeatedly!
Similarly the bus driver turned movie star Rajanikanth created a cult image by carefully scripting his own personality and his own signature style. Rajanikanth has fan clubs in Japan, China and even in the African countries. Surrounded by posh, proper and urbane Telugu heroes Ravi Teja created a place for himself by being the brash and very down to earth hero. The lesson to learn - is it pays to be different and unique. Being common makes everyone a donkey or a horse. Being unique makes one of us a unicorn – a mythical horse with a horn, an object revered and admired.
The position that a brand/product/or a person occupies in the minds of the receiver or the customer is referred to as TOM (Top of the mind). Ideally the mind should have a single brand or a person association. For example in my mind the best cricketer in the world is Sachin Tendulkar, the safest car is Volvo, the most exciting place to visit in India in TajMahal. That is the power of the top of the mind recall. So how do we develop a unique personality?
1. Don’t be predictable: Predictability is a bane. Predictability kills the person from inside. Do things that are different. Take a long walk. Let your feet get tired. The recouping would be fun!
2. Develop a signature style: Every person should develop a unique style of their own. So much so that person will be known for that particular trait. Mohammed Ali the boxer was famous equally for his flamboyant boxing style and the outrageous comments that he made about his opponents.
3. Develop multiple interest areas: Each one of us should have multiple interests in life. These multiple interest would satisfy the creative urges and will keep us fresh and raring to go.
4. Learn to tell stories dramatically: Indians are well known for their storytelling ability. Keep a collection of stories and anecdotes and use them. Audience never forgets an effective story.
5. Retain the innocence: Never Let the child in each one of us die. Remain a child but don’t be childish. Retain that childish innocence and retain the ability to ask innumerable and often unanswerable questions.
6. Challenge yourself: We never know our limits. Challenge yourself physically and mentally and you will be surprised at what can be achieved. All of us have enormous potential. We have not even scratched the surface. What a focused mind can achieve is mind boggling. It is said that we use only 5% of our brain. What will happen if we use 10%, 15% and 20% of our brain? The result might change the world functions. A kid out of college Mark Zuckerberg changed the way we connect and communicate with other people.
7. Read, read and read more: Reading makes a person, wiser, knowledgeable and lets the person develop thinking and reasoning ability. Lack of reading will make the same person a zombie albeit a digital Zombie.
8. Disagree with status quo: There is o point in agreeing with everything and with everybody. Learn to disagree. If not openly at least in private. Nothing new was ever invented if the question “why should it be done this way always” was not asked. We all were dragging things along till a person questioned the process and the outcome changed the world. The wheel was invented!
9. Be an expert in an area no one has explored: Focus your energy on an area no one has explored. Cesar Millan the Dog Whisperer is world famous as a dog psychologist.
10. Leave your stamp: We only live once. Do everything, enjoy the life to the fullest and leave a stamp. After all we only live once. Live life king-size.