Why do people respect some brands more than others? Why are some businesses consistently busy, while others flounder?

In today’s crowded marketplace, it might seem impossible to get your message heard.  With technological advances, we are inundated with information, and more distracted than ever. But one thing is clear. To gain respect, referrals, and all the buzz that will have your business thriving, you need to stand out. If you don’t have the biggest budget, you need to fascinate your clients.

In my decade of research studying over a million professionals, I learned that to captivate your audience, you need to first understand how the world sees you, at your best. When you identify your own unique value, you can leverage those inherent qualities to make people want to listen to you, buy from you and refer you to others.

What great brands already know

In my early 20s, I discovered the field of advertising and instantly fell head over heels. My personality felt custom-built for this profession: the creativity, the hallway brainstorming, the opportunity to create pop culture and invent taglines from a handful of ordinary words.

In my second year in the business, I was the most award-winning copywriter in the country. I opened my first advertising agency at age twenty-seven and went on to become a global creative director for major brands.

Mini Cooper, branding, brand storytelling, unique value propositionI led clients to broadcast billions of messages through campaigns for brands like MINI Cooper, Nike, Godiva, Coca-Cola, and BMW. I studied every great agency, devoured books and magazines, and honed my craft so that I could develop new ideas for my clients. Advertising and I had a torrid affair for more than a decade.

Along the way, I learned how communication is received and interpreted, and which types of messages stand out in a crowded marketplace. My experience in advertising taught me how to look at words and ideas through the eyes of others, and identify what others value.

I learned “how the world sees you.”

Advertising isn’t about what a company wants to say. It’s about what the market wants to hear about, talk about, and buy. When companies don’t listen to what consumers need and want and value, their messages fall flat, and they can damage their own brand.

Brands know that having a great product or service means nothing– if nobody buys it. The same is true in the commoditized realm of health care.

  • Boasting the longest list of degrees and certifications from the most enviable institutions means nothing– if nobody knows about it.
  • Having the most friendly customer experience team is worthless– if nobody comes through your door.
  • Developing cutting-edge products or solutions is a useless effort if no one’s listening to your story to begin with.

So how can you boost conversions and increase your online reviews and following? Better still, how can you possibly do all this without lowering fees or prices? The answers might surprise you.

The truth is, when you’re determining how your clients see you, it’s usually not about strengths and skills. It’s about how you are different.

I spent four years studying high-performers…the winners in each industry who deliver top results. The key finding? High-performers develop a “personality specialty” of some kind. Just as a restaurant has a specialty dish, or a personal trainer has a specialized regimen, the top achievers focus on their specialty personality traits.

You already have a specialty. It defines how you are different than everyone else in your office, or in your field. Instead of focusing on your “strengths,” you focus on your differences.

Different is better than better. 

It’s good to be better, but it’s better to be different.

Different doesn’t try to turn you into something else, or require a new skill. Different allows you to highlight the singular traits you already have within you. You aren’t necessarily better than your competition. But you do have built-in qualities that allow you to rise above the competition.

As conversations become more compressed, and the marketplace more crowded, you need to know how others see you and respond to you. Rather than just knowing your strengths, you need to identify your differences and learn how to use them even more.

The best part is, you don’t have to CHANGE who you are. You just have to become MORE of who you already are.

Brand strategy, branding, storytelling, unique value proposition UVPThe first step is identifying the traits of your personality or practice that set you apart, that fascinate your customers and associates. The word “fascination” comes from the ancient Latin fascinare, “to bewitch or hold captive so others are powerless to resist.” Fascination is the most powerful force of attraction, drawing people into a state of intense focus.

In my research, I learned that there are seven different communication styles that people use to fascinate their listeners. I call these our Fascination Advantages.  Each of us naturally depends on one or two of them most often. When you’re using your primary or secondary Advantage to send a message, you’re tapping into your highest value–what makes you different.

Let me give you some quick examples.

If your primary Advantage is INNOVATION, you speak the language of creativity.  You’ll probably deliver your marketing message in an unusual way.

On the other hand, if your primary Advantage is TRUST, you speak the language of stability.  You might focus on the fact that your family’s business has been in the community for over 60 years.

People with a primary Advantage of PASSION are most comfortable nurturing relationships with their clients.  They use a personal touch or emotional connection to grow their businesses.

Each of us will use these Advantages in ways that suit our unique stories.  The secret lies in discovering the personality traits that set you apart, and then infusing your brand with messages that support your special value. You will be presenting a more authentic you, requiring less effort and leaving a more memorable impression.

Remember: it’s good to be better, but better to be different.

Different is better than better.

Want to find out how YOU are different and grow your business? Go to www.howtofascinate.com/you and enter the code: Story17 to take the Fascination Advantage® assessment and learn and how the world sees you®, at your best.

Listen to Sally Hogshead on episode #91: How To Define Your Most Fascinating Story