In the current generation of business being unique is a top priority to getting noticed. Each day some new story comes out about some creative marketing plan that takes the cake and drives huge traffic to a business. The Taco Liberty Bell April Fool’s joke or Verizon’s real life ‘Can You Hear Me Now?’ promo can only be described as unique. If a business is to survive and thrive making an effort to be unique is a must. Whether you pull off unique marketing stunts, have products which need no introduction or style yourself as an innovative CEO, having a defining quality is what customers will notice.
1) Hybrid Approach
Everyone’s heard of Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club. The subscription commerce industry is growing rapidly, and everyone is coming up with new ideas to send people things in a box. However, the next evolution of the subscription commerce will become the curated subscription business model. The concept is, rather than simply sending a random assortment of products in a box, the customer tells you what their preference is and you as the business tailor each box specifically towards them. The concept of it is simple enough – but operationally intensive. This essentially forces you to forgo 3PL’s due to the high cost of the logistics, and the technology behind recommendation engines aren’t reliable enough to automate the process. For now. For our business, we deal with a highly subjective art of matching people with vape flavors that they’ll enjoy. We use a hybrid approach of using data analytics and expert human recommendations to pick flavors, and through this approach, we’ve had great success in member retention.
Thanks to Tri Nguyen, Zodist!
2) Facebook Ads
Right now we are one of the only social marketing companies that is good at Facebook ads. I’m constantly creating content to show how good- because now that more companies are using Facebook ads, they still are wasting a majority of their money by doing it poorly. I add other differentiators by podcasting and creating expert-sourced ebooks or videos. As a keynote speaker, I have a serious focus on helping businesses and marketing teams get results, but a background in stand-up comedy and improv; so if you want 1,000 people to all laugh at the same time repeatedly, AND you want takeaways that get results, I’m one of the only people who can do that.
Thanks to Brian Carter, The Carter Group!
3) Creating a Great Shopping Experience
As a small business owner in the apparel business we have to do whatever we can to stand out from the crowd. Offering great prices alone is not good enough if I want to compete with the big brands and chain stores. I devote my time to creating a great shopping experience for my customers. My main competitive edge is offering a genuine and honest shopping experience only a small business can provide. I also try to build credibility with my customers as an expert in our field through honest and useful tutorials. Credibility as an industry leader with a great shopping experience makes my business unique.
Thanks to Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco!
4) No Hiding
What makes us different is that we don’t hide anything – we believe in complete transparency. At Zeeto we’ve created a reporting platform to track our key metrics and daily financial progress and give all employees viewing access. We hold weekly, monthly and quarterly company updates. This creates trust and lets everyone know that we’re all in this together. You get a greater buy in from employees when they feel like they are “in the know.” This is where we differ from the rest…with this approach we alleviate common hierarchical structures that exist at other companies.
Thanks to Stephan Goss, Zeeto!
5) Subtly Unique
We are an window and exterior cleaning franchise that is very unique in obvious and subtle ways! We are obviously unique because we wear kilts while doing our work, this idea came to our founder Nicholas Brand when he was with some friends and had a struggling window cleaning business. His friend suggested he wear his kilt while doing it because he is Scottish. Ever since then, we have grown from one man in a kilt to 12 franchises in the US and Canada. We are subtly unique because there is no other company out there who provides professional and quality service from top to bottom like us. We are professional right from the call centre down to our work. We are a fun loving company who’s slogan is “No Peeking!” but we also work as hard as we play!
Thanks to Jesse Finkle, Men In Kilts!
6) Online Resources & In-Person Events
What makes this business different and unique is that we not only provide moms with an abundance of online resources, but we also host in-person events for moms to connect and learn. Motherhood can be difficult and everyday is a learning experience so we feel it’s important for moms to make those in-person connections with other moms to help them on their journey through motherhood. Our company serves as an advertising platform for those larger brands and companies that are looking to make direct connections with moms at our events or who view our platform.
Thanks to Christina Campbell, The Mommy Spot Tampa!
7) Positive Messaging in the World
As background, KonectIDY was started to create more positive messaging in the world and give back in the process. Individuals and charities can custom design their own color-coded bracelets with positive messages on KonectIDY.com, then wear and share them so this positive energy can grow. This is achieved via a patent-pending color-coding system representing each creator’s positive message and story. What makes KonectIDY unique is that each bracelet is unique to the creator and can never be replicated – just like a fingerprint. In addition to spreading positive energy and awareness, these customizable positive messages serve to raise funds for charity, as KonectIDY donates 20% of each sale to the charity or cause connected to the design. KonectIDY currently works with many non-profits both large and small, and individuals worldwide come to our site daily to create their own unique designs and messages.
Thanks to Tony Peluso, KonectIDY!
8) Give Back to my Community
My business model is different because I give back to my community by manufacturing my product in my home town. My product ZippedMe is an award winning dress zipper helper and they are made by hard working stay at home moms, single moms, and college students. Also, a third of the profits of each ZippedMe sold is given back to women in my community. ZippedMe’s motto is to inspire women and help transform them through opportunities.
Thanks to Jody Harris, ZippedMe!
9) Design 1st. Education 2nd.
Our company, Silikids is trying to bring an alternative to children’s plastic feeding wares by replacing plastics found in the kitchen with silicone. Because we are a small company and do not have a massive marketing budget to educate the entire US population on the benefits of silicone and the excessive and toxic effects of plastic, we have developed a “catch with design 1st and educate 2nd” strategy. We have been successful in catching the consumer with great design instantly from the shelf, which then allows us to engage and educate them after they have picked up the product.
Thanks to Stacey Feeley, Silikids!
10) Looking at Unmet Needs
We didn’t arrive at our niche right away. When we launched in 2013, our initial focus was on providing instructional content on how to run a small business. We found that our readers were more interested in our product reviews and comparisons so we shifted to meet their needs. There are plenty of business sites out there, but surprisingly few that approach product and service reviews from a small business perspective. We made sure to distinguish ourselves from there. For one, we’re definitively focused on small businesses. Where other sites provide great coverage for companies with 100+ employees, the businesses we write for are typically much smaller than that. The other thing that distinguishes us is that all our reviews are heavily research-driven. We employ a set of full-time analysts who spend at least two weeks researching the companies in a given area. In any case, we didn’t pull a unique business idea out of the air. Instead, we arrived at it by looking at what needs weren’t being met. We looked at the numbers and ‘found’ our audience. It’s tricky to come up with a unique idea that hasn’t been done before, but with the right analysis, you can figure out what needs aren’t being addressed and work from there to arrive at a unique product or service that addresses those needs.
Thanks to Marc Prosser, Fit Small Business!
The biggest challenge is “noise” consumers have so many options now with so many apps out there for every possible daily life situation. You need something that leapfrogs the competition or is just so cool and new that you get that “aha” moment. Investors at the early stage should be looking for companies and technologies that are truly disruptive. Making a slightly better mousetrap is not going to make it a billion dollar idea. Tipsi is the first location-based wine app with access to thousands of restaurant wine lists and dynamic menus, allowing users to browse sommelier-approved recommendations based on any given restaurant and the desired dish, as well as compare prices between restaurants.
Thanks to Mike Bell, Tipsi!
12) Best Customer Service
One of our business ideals is to give the best customer service we can and take customers feedback into account with our business. When a customer has questions on a product we carry or wants a price cut on a bulk order we are ready to help. I think something that seperates us from a mega site like Amazon is that we can give more focus and attention to our customers needs in the niche we operate in.
Thanks to Alex Reichmann, iTestCash!
13) New Approach
My business is to help connect upcoming actors models and musicians with some of the top people in the industry. I came up with the idea myself when trying to become a film director and found without proper contacts and knowing the right people even the best education in the world would only get you a job as a waitress at Planet Hollywood. That struggle would plant the seed for a company that now is the single most dominant force in connecting talent.
Thanks to Alycia Kaback, The It Factor Productions!
14) 2 Concepts
1) Only 12 promotional product. All promotional products suppliers and distributors have hundreds or thousands of promotional products they sell year after year. We have made it different. At any given moment of time we have only 12 promotional products. Every month we add one new product and take one off. This gives us the flexibility to follow market trends and adjust accordingly as well as ensures that products that we have in our collection are always up-to-date. This also lets us speak about “limited editions” which is true and uniqueness, since we spend time creating something cool and awesome rather then making another 100 models of the same flash drive. 2) Promotional products powered by emotions. People are powered by emotions and are hungry for them. Gifts that surprise, make people surprised, inspired, joyed – all this increases the number of positive contacts with the brand. And making people feel good about the brand is what matters most. Additionally, giving away smart outstanding products results info Free “Word of mouth” sharing in social networks which gives the brand additional impressions and exposure. And that’s exactly what we do – smart bright promotional products for day-to-day use, powered by emotions and fully branded to reflect brand identity, message, positioning etc.
Thanks to Andrew Klymenko, aiia!
15) Provide a Resource
We provide an exhaustive resource called The Stove Fitter’s Manual that shows customers how to install their own wood burning stove. Written by a professional installer the manual essentially gives away all the secrets of stove fitting. Then we sell stoves and goods to visitors 🙂 Nobody else in our industry does this.
Thanks to Julian Patrick, Stove Fitter’s Warehouse!
16) 2 Things
1) We are the most funded Swiss Watch Project on Kickstarter to date! We launched our first collection on Kickstarter (end 2014) and pre-sold 500 watches from our campaign. Our campaign was fully funded within the first 11 hours and we received close to $200,000 in total pledges. 2) We call our customers “fans.” We find these guys on Social Media, we talk to to them there, we sell them watches, we help them with pre and post sale queries, and we invite them to help develop our products. Basically, we do everything through our Instagram and Facebook accounts – Facebook – 99K Likes and Instagram -13.3K Followers. We’re following a direct to fan (consumer) model ensuring that our retail pricing is real (and not inflated). Indeed, our success has continued post Kickstarter, as we’ve continued selling directly to fans.
Thanks to Written by Chaz, LIV – Swiss Watches!
17) Traveled & Lived Around the World
We believe that what makes us unique is that the founding team of Shweebo have all travelled and lived around the world and were unable to find a quality service provider that actually came through with their services like we believe we do. Shweebo was started as a means to satisfy the needs of the international customer that is looking for products from the USA. While there are a number of shipping and package forwarding companies already in existence we know we offer something different. We have created a company where the customer is not just a ‘number’ but we think of them as friends, partners and even as a part of our team. This means that we are their representative in the United States to help educate and obtain what they are looking for in an easy, dynamic and joyful way. When purchasing products in another country, it is hard to understand the way of doing business in that country and finding exactly what you are looking for. We saw an opening in the market for a service that went the extra mile when it comes to it’s customers and their needs. Shweebo is more about boutique custom services allowing our customers to take control and make important decisions when it comes to their shopping and shipping needs from the USA. There is a lot of satisfaction when we hear from our customers, being able to educate and help them solve their challenges.
Thanks to Josh Burnley, Shweebo!
18) Entrepreneurial Crowd-Based Approach
Innovation is key to social and economic prosperity, and entrepreneurship is key to bringing such innovations to life. ieCrowd was founded by entrepreneurs with a mission to unlock the potential of untapped life and health innovations developed in research institutions from around the globe. What makes ieCrowd unique, is its entrepreneurial crowd-based approach where innovators, partners, consumers, and everyone can participate in ieCrowd’s innovation commercialization process. Today ieCrowd’s innovations range from Kite, which could make people invisible to mosquitos, to Nuuma, which is an electronic nose that could enable your cell phone to smell, to others related to head pain (including migraines) and sleep apnea that effect millions of people. ieCrowd is continuing to scale its business model to identify and commercialize more promising breakthrough innovations because now more than ever, we need to bring the world together to turn our ideas into solutions.
Thanks to Amro Albanna, ieCrowd!
20) Content Advice with a Journalism Perspective
There are a lot of content marketing businesses out there, so I positioned mine as offering content advice from a journalism perspective. After seven years in the newspaper industry, I was laid off like so many other journalists, and began a career in online marketing. Journalism experience is highly valued in today’s Internet marketing world where quality content reigns as a requirement for website visitors and search engine rankings. I offer advice to marketers who want to up their content marketing game by incorporating journalism techniques, which builds trust, credibility and authority by offering quality, informative and interesting content to their brand’s audience.
Thanks to Tracy Mallette, Content Newsroom!
21) Helping Others
Goosie Girl (my micro-business) is different from other similar small businesses in the following ways: I believe that the best way to grow my business is to first help others. We use the model Napoleon Hill set forth in his infamous quote, “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” Goosie Girl not only designs, markets and sells original fashion accessories and patterns~but we also author helpful ebooks designed to mentor and teach other small business learn how to grow their own businesses using the tips, tricks and proven strategies we’ve used to grow exponentially. We take the success we’ve found, and share it with other small businesses to help them achieve their goals and objectives. We also share small business tips freely and social media tips on our blog and social media platforms as well. I’d be honored to answer any questions you may have or contribute further content on this subject.
Thanks to Heather Niziolek Kavolino, Goosie Girl!
22) Numerous Things
I try to make the atmosphere at work one that encourages creativity and open minds. Here are some specific things that make our agency specifically unique in the marketplace. (1) Unlimited time off One of the most unique things about our company is that we offer an unlimited amount of vacation time for all of our employees. By giving that incentive, I have found employees to be more motivated at work and are more appreciative of the time taken than if the time were exceptionally limited. (2) “Team Days” Our team takes monthly team days, where we get out of the office and into a more creative atmosphere to open a dialogue about things that we don’t usually talk about at work. Last month, we went on a biking expedition, where we rode bikes around our community, stopped at a local café and just talked about general things happening in each other’s lives. (3) Using motivational talks to inspire team members I also use many things that I have learned from motivational speakers over the years on our monthly team days, weekly meetings, etc. By using techniques I have found useful by Tony Robbins and other motivational speakers, I am able to pass that information along to my team members, in hopes that they will find it as useful as I do. (4) Encouraging open communication With many of our competitive companies, I have found that open communication is extremely hard to find. Whether it’s a normal day at the office or during an office meeting, I encourage all of my team members to speak their mind and let others in on what they are thinking. I never want to discourage an open dialogue within the workplace, not only because I believe that all of my team member’s opinions are important, but also because in many cases they can think of things that I may not necessarily see from the same perspective. (5) Flexible schedules Although most of the people in our company work a standard 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday schedule, we offer flexibility to those who may need it weekly or just sporadically. We have a few team members who have a substantial drive to be at work every day, and we encourage them to work from home Mondays and Fridays to alleviate some of that pressure.
Thanks to Ryan Lockhart, group46!
23) People Pay Us to Suffer
Well, not really. We take people on backpacking adventure vacations to get fit and lose weight. This fitness jump start can be rigorous at times, but it’s done in a beautiful natural setting in which people sometimes forget all the energy they’re expending to get in shape.
Thanks to Steve Silberberg, Fitpacking!
24) Treat Customers Well
Travertine is a unique company in that our main focus and priority is to treat our customers well. Even if we know that a person isn’t going to buy anything, we still treat them with the utmost respect and help them in any way possible. A lot of companies focus mainly on just making money any way that they can. They don’t care about the wellbeing of their customers. We make sure that our customers always leave with a big smile on their face and a positive image of Travertine. We focus on quality, in our product formulation and in our customer service.
Thanks to Jennifer Main, Travertine Spa Collection!
25) Many Reasons
Our business is unique for many reasons. First, our product is creating things like a rebar woolly mammoth, a giant red-tail hawk’s nest that is an outdoor classroom, life-cast figures of Marines and prehistoric creatures. We create products and experiences that inspire people. Second, we are an artistic, creative company run by an MBA. We have combined process, procedure, metrics, data, etc. with art. Third, we have built a collaborative culture of teamwork. Marketing works closely with sales, project managers rely on fabricators to complete process, accounting participates in marketing, the production manager gives guidance to the design manager on how to manage the team and so forth. Fourth, we are the only company in our industry that offers a ten year warranty on our work. Fifth, we live our mission and core values. Sixth, we utilize traditional manufacturing processes in a very custom shop. Most of what we do is only built once specifically for each client.
Thanks to Betty Brennan, Taylor Studios, Inc!
26) Huge Impact on Society
Social enterprises are sprouting up every day and consumers are becoming more aware of their purchasing habits. However, while there are numerous for profit companies that are making a real impact, it is still difficult for a consumer to discover these companies and comprehend the real impact they are having on society. We are building a cause discovery platform that connects consumers and businesses through a social cause. Meaning that if there is a social issue that you care deeply about, Kehko will connect you directly with companies who are selling products and support the same issue. In addition to adding an innovative way that you purchase new products, you can also engage directly with others who share your personal values, converse with businesses and directly support these causes.
Thanks to Christopher Holman, Kehko!
27) One of the 1st
Bosom Galore is one the first full bust lingerie labels to offer luxury , UK manufacture and 26 band sizes. At present, almost all full bust brands offer low to mid-range lingerie that has been manufactured overseas for cheaper labour. Not only is our lingerie manufactured in the UK in support of the UK textiles industry, but our lingerie to manufactured to a high quality and composed of luxury fabrics for enhanced comfort and style. With education in bra fit becoming more widely available, more and more women are discovering that they require smaller bands and larger cups than they originally thought (on average 2 bands smaller and 2 cups larger) resulting in a greater demand for smaller bands and larger cups, including 26 bands. Bosom Galore is one of the only brands to offer 26 bands.
Thanks to Katy Payne, Bosom Galore!
28) Customer Service
I am the owner of MyCorporation.com, an online filing service for small business owners and entrepreneurs. We help business owners incorporate, form LLCs and maintain annual business filings. In a commoditized business that is focused on a SaaS model, our business is unique because we provide top-notch, unrelentingly responsive customer service. We believe that small business owners and entrepreneurs need a bit of hand-holding and clear communication about the process. They want to be involved in the start-up filings of their business and they want to understand. Purely automating the process is not a ‘perfect’ solution even though it may ultimately cost less and provide for higher profitability in the short term. We have found that over the long term, our ability to establish and maintain a relationship with our clients enables us to retain clients over the long term. It also engenders clients to us, so we are able to form a very strong referral base as well as fantastic long term partnerships. Unlike other businesses in our industry, we do not just have an annuity stream – we have created a lifetime value of customers who continuously come back to us and refer colleagues, friends and family. Further, we offer a service that spans the lifecycle of their entrepreneurial venture, enabling customers to continue to leverage our services for all filings required by a small business/entrepreneurial venture. We make a difference by spending investing in a great customer experience.
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!
29) 3 Things
StorageMart is unique among Self-Storage companies in North America because of three things. 1. Our leadership. We have strong personalities among our leadership, which filters out to our management and local staff. We are aware of the things that our leadership focuses on and feel passionate about. This sets the tone for the whole organization. 2. Our business processes. We have developed our own ways of dealing with standard business practices which means the customer experience is a bit different with us. We like to think we make it easy and quick to do business with us, and that we do business in a friendly and helpful manner. That sounds generic. But when you color those goals with unique and proprietary business practices, you do end up with differentiations that are noticeable to customers. 3. Our local store staff people. We try very hard to make providing great customer service in a helpful and friendly manner everyone’s “job number one”. That might also sound generic. But when everyone in the organization has the same response to an issue (” fix it and make the customer happy”), you end up with front line people who make customers feel good about doing business with us. That is not that common. Self-Storage seems pretty generic and pretty unexciting. But we have always known that people treasure the things they store with us, so we need to honor their trust by making the experience pleasant and easy. Those are the things that drive our business every day.
Thanks to Tron Jordheim of StorageMart Self Storage!
30) Core Values
What makes our business unique is our core values, which we work by and run our business by. At the heart of TINYpulse are our company values:
- D elight customers
- E lect to spread positivity
- L ead with solutions and embrace change
- I ncrease communication with open engagement
- G o the extra mile with passion
- H old oneself accountable “Big Freedom = Big Accountability”
- T reasure culture and freedom
We live and breathe by these values — they guide every major decision we make. And they create a culture that delights our customers and our colleagues.
Thanks to Neal McNamara, Tiny Pulse!