On being exceptional: Discovering your unique story

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The cornerstone of effective AEC marketing (beyond the obvious and essential elements of doing great work, having truly talented employees and contractors and providing a service of real value) is your uniqueness, and it is here that most contractors fail to create/define their uniqueness.

The “same as everyone else” behaviour is natural and human. Most of us don’t like to stand out from the crowd, except in exceptional circumstances. But you won’t go far in marketing without some quality, characteristic, or message that makes your business truly unique and appealing.

How do you define the uniqueness?

Geography: If you are the only organization providing the service within a geographical area, then your uniqueness can be defined by your geography.

Speciality: If you are the only business with a specialized service — or the only one at least to broadcast that service is available — you can claim uniqueness.

Durability: If your business is the only one to have been around 100 years, you have something unique.

Other uniquenesses can work or backfire. You could actually do more good for yourself by defining as the most expensive service provider in your community — if you have a luxury message/market.  If you market that you are the least expensive, you either would need to have exceptional processes/systems or you are losing money — hardly a marketing “win”.

Some uniquenesses are creative, or could relate to your overpoweringly effective marketing within a community. Folks of my generation remember the old Ralph Williams ads on late night local television on the West Coast. When Ralph wasn’t there, Chick Lambert and his dog Storm showed up. Here the marketing “personality” created the uniqueness and story (but this type of marketing presence is likely to be overpowering and way too expensive for most AEC businesses.)

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