It’s not often that I find an unusual / unusually effective way for someone to make a statement about WHO they are and/or WHAT they do.  It happens.  But it’s not common.

Then, yesterday I received an invitation to connect on Linkedin with Joe Lavoie.

I didn’t know Joe before he reached out to connect on Linkedin.  Even our ‘who you know in common’ didn’t reflect a list of the usual suspects I would normally expect to see.  So I did what I do most of the time.  I checked out Joe’s Linkedin profile page to assess whether I should accept his invitation or, politely, decline it.

Joe’s Profile

When I viewed his profile page, here’s what I saw . . .

Joe’s tagline was a significant ‘pattern interrupt’.  It stopped me.  Cold.  I was hooked.  At this point I didn’t know all that much about Joe except that he had me smiling.  He had me admiring his courage for stepping outside of what convention suggests one should do with the tagline on Linkedin.  Most of all, he had me wondering, “Who the heck is this guy??”

Why I liked Joe . . . Before I Ever Met Him

Joe’s decision to put himself out there with his uncommon tagline automatically set him apart from the pack.  One of my favorite sayings is, “The ONLY dog on a dog sled team with a change of scenery . . . is the LEAD DOG”.  (Think about it for a second.  You’ll see what I mean!)

In business and in life it’s not easy to be seen as so different and unique that you stand out from the pack of me-too positioned people.  Joe Lavoie succeeds at standing out because he’s made a courageous decision to do so.

Joe didn’t have to be a ‘rocket surgeon’ to say what he did.  True, he’s pretty creative.  But it’s not beyond anyone — including you and me — to seize the same opportunity Joe did . . . to make a distinctive and memorable statement that causes him to be memorable in a world where most people forget your first name after just meeting you!

How To Stand Out Like Joe

A good Core Message or tagline needs to do two things:

  1. Convey what you do and/or what benefit you produce for your client
  2. Be memorable . . . which means being distinctive and beneficial

The father of differentiation . . . HBS professor and noted author, Ted Levitt, defined ‘differentiation’ in his 1986 book, The Marketing Imagination as the ability to be both unique and beneficial.

The challenge, of course, is to be both.  Why?  Well, think about it.  If you’re beneficial, you’ll be copied by your competitors.  So you’re not likely to be unique for very long.  And, if you’re truly unique, no competitor has tried to copy you.  So maybe you weren’t all that beneficial after all.  See, there’s the rub.  Finding a sustainable way to differentiate or position yourself effectively . . . is a real challenge.

The good news is that, as an advisor to your client, you’re not a tangible product that is readily available to your prospective clients from any one of a number of retail outlets.  You are, simply by being who you are, unique.  There is no one else like you.  So there’s half the battle.

The second challenge is to be beneficial . . . as your Ideal Client defines it.  This is, as I’m sure you know, less about what you do and more about what you do for your client.  Once you shift your frame of reference on that, you’ll see and communicate the beneficial difference you make in your clients’ lives . . . fairly quickly and easily.

POINT:
If you’re good at what you do . . . don’t hide your light under a bushel!  Convey the beneficial difference you create in a client’s life simply, creatively and . . . effectively.

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