It takes courage to give the world an idea or product that’s been living inside your head. Now, it’s subject to scrutiny, demand, praise, and everything in between. To confidently describe that product as “unique” requires even more gusto because everyone thinks they’ve got the standout idea. Of course, there’s only one you. But developing a unique brand identity takes a bit more work and planning.
First, you can’t force unique ideas. Sometimes they’re the result of careful research and sometimes, they happen by accident. The latter is how Jena Wolfe dreamed up Piecework Puzzles alongside co-founder Rachel Hochhauser. During a 2016 getaway prompted by burnout, they found repose through a pile of dusty puzzles in their rental cabin, and voila—a brand was born. Furthermore, Wolfe’s success story is proof that you can’t force unique ideas. You don’t find them. They have to find you.
“Most entrepreneurs—or anyone who has an itch to start something on her own—have their antennas up for potential ideas all the time,” said the former BlogHer speaker. “The best businesses are filling a need in the market, and often that is something you realize by feeling that pain-point yourself. We started to do puzzles as a way to relax and, when we realized that there weren’t any puzzles on the market that spoke to our taste, we saw an opportunity to create something different.”
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Once you’ve established a unique brand identity, you’ve got to sustain it. According to Wolfe, if your idea is a true standout, “copycat competition will arise almost overnight.”
“So many companies offer identical value propositions. As consumers, we are barraged with options for virtually every product we want to buy,” she said. “The idea alone is not enough. How you execute the idea, and the brand you build around it, is what will set you apart from the competition.”
Additionally, don’t slack off on nurturing your audience or consumer base just because you think you’ve got an amazing idea. Like a real-life conversation, Wolfe says you should know who you’re speaking to and tailor your message to them accordingly.
“This should impact where you’re having the conversation—email or social media? online or print?— and the topic of conversation. You want to meet people where they are and provide them with something you know they want —or something they don’t know they want yet.”
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