STANDSTILL agencies want to be DIFFERENT
STANDOUT agencies want to be DISTINCTIVE
Conventional wisdom tells us that to stand out you have to be unique, but the concept of Unique Selling Points (USPs) was actually created with the first TV ads. In today’s hyper-connected world, if you do discover or create something unique, it rarely stays that way for long.
Our industry is full of agencies trying — and failing — to live up to uniqueness. STANDSTILL agencies obsess about being different. Invariably, most end up saying the same things.
If your agency has something completely unique, something that no other agency can do, you are extremely lucky. Do everything you can to use it to help you stand out. Be honest with yourself though. If you think your unique attribute is the fact that you’ve won some awards, or that you have a great set of people, or that you are results-focused, please think again. These things may all be true but they’re hygiene factors. I’m not saying they’re worthless, they’re just so me-too that they make your agency blend in rather than stand out.
STANDOUT agencies believe in being distinctive over being different. Distinctiveness is not about trying to find something that nobody else has. It’s often about maximising and promoting lots of smaller qualities rather than one big one. It’s branding not marketing.
STANDOUT agencies build distinctive brands that are recognisable and memorable. These qualities increase the visibility and value of their agency. It makes them easier for clients to recognise, recall and buy.
To be a STANDOUT agency you don’t have to be unique, but you do have to be distinctive. You must create characteristics that other agencies cannot easily claim, replicate or match, and amplify through through your brand and marketing.