How blending in harms your business and knowing when it’s time to stand out

I’ve been there myself, doing just the basics when I was at the beginning. Setting up my website with a rudimental design that is good enough to get started. But sooner or later you realize how the basics are not good enough anymore. 

Sure, in the beginning you’re just trying to fit in with the cool kids. You look at industy norms and trends. You want to look and behave like Apple, because they’re already successful and a benchmark for how things should run. But blending in and being like everyone else is lazy. It’s a quick fix and it will get you stuck eventually.   

You’re just another option rather than THE solution 

When you’re like everyone else, it’s hard to be found or seen. And if you do get on someone’s radar, and a potential customer tries to compare you to similar businesses, it will be hard for them to choose you. Because you’re both pretty much just an option instead of a specific solution to a problem. 

You will disappear with the rest of these mediocre businesses, if you’re similar in these areas:

  • Target the same broad audience
  • Have similar products
  • Have a similar service structure
  • Have similar messaging and visuals    

If you look and behave similar, you will disappear with the rest of these mediocre businesses.

With a more specified audience you really narrow down what the right solution for them is. This will help you to be found easier and chosen much quicker.

Lack of Memorability

As a business you want to be remembered by your customers or make a memorable impression for new ones. When you’re blending in, you’re doing the oppositve and disappear in a sea of sameness. You may have compared yourself with the competition. But you used them as a reference to look alike instead of standing out. Sure, you should look familiar within your industry, but looking distinctive is what helps you to stand out to be remembered.

You should look familiar within your industry, but looking distinctive is what helps you to be remembered.   

When you study your competition, look for the gaps and the differences. These will be the areas where you can find new ways to stand out and become memorable. 

Nobody chooses a follower

When you’re trying to look and be like someone else, you automatically become a follower instead of a leader. But a leader thinks ahead, of new ways to solve a customer’s problem. They find a different and more specific solution that will be more appealing and impactful than your broad average solution. And if someone has a specific problem, they will reach out to the expert that has looked at the problem more thoroughly and from different angles. Nobody chooses a follower with a standard solution like everyone else’s. So, if you’re different you automatically stand out and become more valuable. 

Being different makes you a leader and automatically helps you stand out and become more valuable. 

Many think that being different means being offensive. But there are subtile ways to be different. It’s a matter of figuring out what makes you different in an authentic but impactful way.    

The right time to stand out

Business Growth

Blending in is okay, even normal, when you’re starting out. Then you gain some traction and have some success with your business. At this time, it’ll become inevitable to focus on standing out if you want to take your business further. Most markets are already crowded and without differentiation you won’t come very far. 

Decline in sales

Most businesses also differentiate, when they see a decline in their sales. To find out how they can differentiate, they do research and collect data:

  • They reasses their strategy
  • They look at market trends
  • They analyze customer feedback
  • They review competitor actions
  • They respond to changing consumer preferences

Consumer preferences and behaviors evolve over time. When you notice shifts in what your target audience values or desires, you will need to adapt accordingly to stand out. For example, if sustainability becomes a priority for consumers, emphasizing eco-friendly practices and products will differentiate your brand in a positive way.

Launching a new product or services

When introducing a new product or service, differentiation is a tool to attract initial interest and gain traction. You highlight what sets your offering apart, whether it’s superior quality, innovative features, or a unique value proposition. Standing out at launch can generate buzz and excitement among consumers.  

Conclusion

Not focusing on standing out comes with many disadvantages. Focusing on differentiation only has its benefits. While you don’t need to rush into this topic when you’re starting out, it makes sense to take a closer look at it when things become stagnant. 

How well are you standing out? 

Measure how well you differentiate yourself. I’ve created a quiz that uncovers valuable insights to differentiate your brand from competitors. It only takes 3-5 minutes.

Take the Quiz: Are You Standing Out or Blending In?

About Me

Hi, I’m Simona, brand strategist and designer who helps ambitious business owners transform their business. I’m passionate about creating authentic identity designs which help you stand out from the crowd and are based on a solid strategy.

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