Be Remarkable - Find the "Purple Cow" In Your Industry

I recently read "The Purple Cow", Seth Godin's insightful book on how to "transform your business by being remarkable." The general theme of the book was that the best way to succeed in generating attention for your company is to build buzz the old fashioned way: by offering something worth talking about. Basically, the idea is to create and offer a product or service so unique that it markets itself. The simplicity of this concept is what makes it so brilliant. 
There are very few, if any, industries where you can become the market leader by simply following the current leader. You'll always be a step behind. You can try to brand yourself differently in order to appear that you are offering something unique, but most consumers will see through this facade. Instead, create a product or service that solves a new problem that doesn't yet have a solution. Become the market leader from day one instead of chasing the top position.
Offer something different, something remarkable. It's easy to copy someone else's idea, but much more difficult to deliver a truly remarkable product. However, this doesn't need to be a daunting task. Consider the problems your company or you personally face on a regular basis. Then determine what could be done to solve these problems. This exercise should provide you with a wide range of product ideas. Not every one is going to be the next iPod or Facebook, but I guarantee that if you reflect long enough, you'll stumble upon an idea that could very well be the next craze.


Be A Rock Star - Market Your Brand Like Your Favorite Band

Musicians and bands embody the perfect brand. People feel an emotional connection to their music, thus empowering the musicians who produce it. These musicians command the loyalty and devotion that every company wishes they could attain. This is why celebrity endorsements are so popular; companies try to latch on to the sense of admiration that consumers feel towards famous musicians, athletes and other celebrities. However, instead of trying to leverage someone's interest in a particular celebrity, the brand should be trying to earn that loyalty and build that devotion on their own.
It's not a coincidence that Facebook uses the term "fans" for a page's supporters; that's exactly what every company wants: fans. Likewise, Twitter "followers" are analogous to a band's following. Maybe a company's fans won't rent a bus and follow their tour around the country, but they are interested enough in the brand to engage with it on a regular basis. Apple may be one of the best examples of a company creating true fans. Customers will wait in line for days to get the new iPhone or iPad. They watch Steve Jobs' product announcements with a religious fervor. They speculate on new products and new product features months if not years before they are released. The question is how to turn a customer into a fan, part of your following. It all comes down to relationship building. I've said it before and I'll say it again: invest the customer, not just financially but emotionally. You want the customer to feel a personal connection to your brand just like they do to their favorite bands.