Lady Gaga, the Mother Monster, has officially canceled her concert in Jakarta. Controversy and discussions abounded in various media outlets for an entire week. Some people felt happy when hearing the news, yet others didn’t.
Of course, Lady Gaga’s fans, who called themselves “Little Monster”, were utterly disappointed. A news segment included an interview with one of the Little Monsters. The presenter asked her three questions, the last of which was particularly interesting: “Why do you love Lady Gaga instead of other artists?”
She answered it while tearing up, “Because Lady Gaga is unique. No-one else is on the same par.” Wow. The answer seemed so honest and convincing.
Unique means having no like or equal. It has distinguishing factors that separates one thing from all others. We all know how unique Lady Gaga is. She has never abided by the usual dress code, in keeping with red-carpet treatment.
She has sparked many controversies which have fueled much discussion. You have no doubt heard about her and the news she makes, but let us stop discussing further about Lady Gaga, and instead highlight the importance of being unique or “standing out”.
Why do we have to stand out from the crowd? In terms of a brand or product, why do we have to be different than other similar products in the marketplace?
From turning on the television in the morning until laying your head on your pillow at night, can you actually remember all of the ads you’ve seen? We are bombarded with advertisements; in America, people are exposed to an average of 3,000 television ads per day.
What about us in Indonesia? Nielsen’s Southeast Asia Quarterly Advertising Index shows that Indonesia had the largest growth of advertising expenses in the third quarter of 2011, which was 24 percent greater than that of the third quarter in 2010. Many brands are fighting each other to step in and penetrate our minds.
They pay more to get close to us, from television, radio and newspapers to billboards, buses and various other types of media, be it offline or online. They also speak with the same jargon that we use! As consumers, we can make decisions easily. If we hate an ad or a product, we can turn our faces away from the exposure of the ad.
If you are the brand owner or the product manager, what will you do? You have to understand that our consumers have become smarter and are not so easily swayed by simply putting up an advertisement. Consumers will reject any information that they don’t like and move on to other information that offers more benefits for them. That’s one of the reasons why we have to stand out.
When we stand as part of a crowd, who will recognize us? How will they know we are there? We need to distinguish ourselves through offers, unique promises or benefits, color, appearance, packaging or any other factor that can be applied to our product. When we’re unique or different, we are the message and the idea will spread to others.
Seth Godin, one of the world’s marketing gurus, has said that we live in the century of idea diffusion. People can share their ideas in many ways. We have our own channel and we are the message itself. We can share any idea or message anywhere and anytime.
When we stand in the same crowd and are not seen as being different, we do not become a “talking point” and will soon be forgotten. If we don’t leave an impression or something special in our consumers’ minds, we are at the bottom of the list. That’s why when we differ from others, we are talked about. As Godin said, “the ideas that spread, win”. Whatever your industry, this term can be applied to it.
What has happened in the world now is that consumers have more choices, but they have less time. In this way, what they do is just ignore stuff, randomly. Ignore the stuff that has the same traits as others.
Let us share a simple parable. We walk in a park and see a dog and we keep on walking. We didn’t stop and say, “Oh look, there’s a dog”, because it’s normal. But what if the dog was the color blue? We would notice it for a while because our eyes would be attracted to it. We would stop, take a picture of it and maybe share it via Twitter.
The thing that determines whether something will be talked about, shared or purchased is whether it is remarkable or not. Remarkable is really about being something. That’s your distinguishing factor.
How do we become remarkable? Why do we need to stand out among the crowd? By offering something new and fresh; something that people have never seen before and then consumers notice it.
Is your brand remarkable? Can consumers recognize how different you are compared to the others?
Stand out. Be remarkable. And be talked about.
Richie Wirjan is brand consultant at DM IDHOLLAND and Daniel Surya is the company’s chairman and president for Southeast Asia.