It was a beautiful spring weekend at our Barefoot Swag office here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. It has been a busy, hectic and, often, overwhelming month of getting our clients set up with the perfect swag. We set lofty goals for the year and are well on the way to achieving them and that means long hours, spending hours catching up on work on the weekends and just generally trying to make sure we don’t let anything fall through the cracks.
I needed some time to regroup, and this weekend was perfect for that. Burnout is real folks, no matter how much you love what you do. I spent Friday and Saturday painting (because when work comes first, second and third, there is no time to do anything other than the basics at home). But I still took time out on Friday (while waiting for paint to dry) to take a nice hike with a friend. Nature has always been my happy place. Being outside, especially in the woods, is peaceful, calming and grounds me in a way nothing else does.
Sunday’s weather was perfect for an afternoon in the gardens at Biltmore Estates (if you haven’t visited The Biltmore in Asheville, go. It is amazing and the grounds are beautiful). The gardens are always vibrant with color and and the seasonal blooming flowers are meticulously maintained. The tulips in the spring are striking, with beds planted in solid colors or colors that are striking together (purple and red tulips with white daffodils was one of my favorites). When I got back and looked at the pictures I was impressed with my photography skills (the fact the pictures weren’t blurry was a big deal). But one picture really stood out.
First, I really liked it because I love yellow flowers, which is odd because I don’t like the color yellow in anything else (I’ve never owned a yellow garment in my life. Ever). But nature does yellow in a way that cannot be replicated. But then, when I looked at it again, I saw it. In a field of beautiful, bright yellow blooms, there was that one single tulip that wasn’t. It wasn’t solid yellow, it wasn’t just like the other, it was right there in the middle, shining in its uniqueness- stripes of bright red in sharp contrast to the surrounding sea of yellow.
As I stared at the picture, it reminded me that we all need to embrace our uniqueness, to let it shine, not hide it away. Both in our personal lives and in our businesses. Society, other business owners, teachers, customers and even TV try to tell us that standing out isn’t good. We need to blend in, do business the way our competitors do. While that may be the case with some of the basics, don’t be afraid to step out of the box, be a little unique, even it if is a little scary. Don’t just push the boundaries, move them.
How do you set yourself apart from your competitors? In our industry (and probably many others), the standard answer is “our customer service.” Well, if that is your answer as well as the answer of 75% of your competitors, that isn’t your unique attribute. Keep in mind that your uniqueness can be emphasized in many different ways. You could shine in how you get your product to market, your social media “voice”, the experience you give your customers at trade shows.
What is unique about your brand, your product or your company? How are you marketing that?
What are you going to do this week to show your bright red stripes, to fly your freak flag, to embrace the unique that is you, to not hide behind a sea of yellow, but to shine in everything that you (and your brand) are?
At Barefoot Swag we can help you stand out from your competitor with creative marketing ideas. Just email or call to discuss creative ideas to fit any budget.