What is your Flaming Fountain?

Posted: March 15, 2012 in Marketing, Thoughts
Tags: , ,
What is your "flaming fountain?"

On Bourbon Street in New Orleans you can find a lot of the same, but at pat O'Brien's they are known to stick out a little bit more.

Lately I have been a little busier than usual and haven’t been able to post as much as I would like on this blog. One of the reasons for that was a conference I was preparing for that I was asked to speak at. The CUNA Marketing and Business Development Conference in New Orleans was my first official speaking assignment and they wanted to make sure they used me as much as they could. Along with my co-presenter, Bruce Ulrich, we spoke at three different sessions. It was a great experience and I really loved being able to impart some of my knowledge with my peers.

New Orleans also offered a great learning experience for me beyond the conference. NOLA has quite the reputation and most of that comes from Bourbon Street and its bar scene. I quickly realized that many of the bars/clubs down there were basically the same. I heard music up and down the street and most of it was from Rock n Roll cover bands. I quickly had the feeling that Bourbon Street did not differentiate itself from many of the other bar crawling streets in the nation. Then I stopped in Pat O’Brien’s. The atmosphere was a little different there. No live band (at least the night I stopped by) and a great big flaming fountain in the middle of the courtyard.

It made me think, what am I doing with my personal brand and with my company’s brand that could be akin to a flaming fountain? I am doing anything out of the ordinary to stick out and show that I am different? In most industries we are all stuck looking and acting very much alike. You see this in highly regulated industries like banking or in small businesses in the same geographical area. Occasionally you get those that are able to set themselves apart with branding, i.e. WaMu’s “Stodgy Bankers” campaign or Ally Bank and its attack on the status quo. Look at what you and your competitors are doing and see what truly sets you apart. Do not try to fall in line because “everyone else is doing it.” Work on ways you can be different. Change your products. Change your company culture. You can do it and be successful. Pat O’Brien’s is still a spot many locals go. That might have something more to do with their specialty drinks but it is also because they have stood and from the crowd.

So what can you do to stand out from the crowd? Have you thought about your own “flaming fountain” and how it could benefit you?

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