Richard Branson does crazy stunts. Another founder wears orange every day. Here's why adopting your own schtick could help you succeed.
A lot of things need to come together for a new business to be successful. Great product, brilliant team, the right meetings--the list goes on. But there’s one way to fast-track your success that’s simpler than you think: Find a clever way to stand out.
Some choose the Sir Richard Branson path, executing big, bold, holy-sh*t-did-he-just-do-that kinds of stunts that get you noticed quickly. As a huge Branson fan, I hope to have a fraction of that kind of pizazz, scale (and budget!) someday.
Others believe you can stand out by genuinely listening to your fans, and trying to respond to every social media post your fans write. As someone who has tried this, I can say that a) it’s incredibly noble, b) it’s incredibly hard, and c) it’s incredibly impressive to see over-achieving friends of mine who have nailed it.
I chose an even simpler, hard-to-ignore approach. Its origins date back to 2006 when I was on my way to my first big (well, huge) meeting with Walgreens. On a whim, I decided to buy an orange tie on my way there, and I put it on in the cab. Since our first brand was Yes To Carrots, I thought it would be a funny way to bring our brand message home. Needless to say, something about that meeting worked. In my mind, the tie had more than a little bit to do with it.
The next few months were filled with so many orange shopping sprees that my wife thought that I was part of a strange cult. At trade shows, meetings, editor events, everywhere, I’ve always worn something orange--nothing loud and garish, just simple little details like a watch or sneakers that make people smile. I have to say that every time I put on my little bit of orange, I feel a bit happier and connected to the brand, and I think people can tell.
Since these early days of Yes To, I’ve been known in the industry as the guy who always wears something orange. It’s a conversation point for any new contact. Plus, it’s a fun reason to go shopping.
So pick your shtick, be different, stand out, and leave the others in the dust.