A colleague in the university sector was attending a marketing event. The presenter’s first slide showed a university’s promotional materials—complete with the typical ‘DREAM LARGE’ and ‘DESIGN THE FUTURE’ type tagline. He then polled the audience, asking if they knew which university it was. A ten minute debate ensued. Many delegates thought it was definitely Melbourne University. Others guessed it was Sydney or University of Queensland, a handful plumped for other lesser-known institutions.
“That’s right guys, welcome to the university of anywhere.” the presenter said.
Everywhere you look you’ll see different businesses telling the same story, because it feels safer to conform than to stand out. But the things that set you apart—the uncommon and unmistakable are what customers seek out now. And yet we fall into the trap of amplifying our similarities, rather than risk telling the story about what sets us apart.
If you substituted the logo on your website for a competitor’s would anyone notice?
Your job is to make sure they do.
Image by Seattle Municipal Archives.