Today is a game of platforms. If your strategy is to be listed and hope to get picked, then you have already diluted yourself. You are telling the market that you are a commodity and on someone else’s directory. The problem with lists is that they create uniformity. Noone stands out.
This may have worked well in a more linear world. The yellow pages were good for self-organization of categories. Shelf space did the same thing. A dental directory or listing of attorneys was difficult to pick from. Everything blends together.
How do you pick a dentist from a list anyways? Gender? Ethnicity? There are no other differentiators.
Ask yourself before making lists your strategy, “Who made up this list?” This can go for an online directory, a manufacturer’s partner listing, a marketing summit or whatever other curation invented to group people.
I say pick yourself. Make your brand stand out and be a category of one. Here’s why:
- Control. Leaving your branding to someone else to label you and group you limits you.
- Discovery. What differentiates you? Being the maverick allows you to explore what is new. The world is changing so fast. You can integrate in changes and learn new things about your value.
- Leadership. If you are blended in, then how are you perceived as a leader? Markets love leaders. They want the leader. Define your category and be that leader. Scream it from the rooftops.
- Substance. Markets have a funny way of attracting lots of talking heads and marketing types. They don’t do the work or deliver the goods. They sure do talk, comment and analyze a lot. They are derivative of the true value. Take the microphone away and create your own voice with the substance from real value.
- Platform. Are you building someone else’s platform or your own? Owning assets in the new economy tends to be a lot more virtual. Why give the hard work to someone else? Ask yourself if you have an asset after being on someone else’s list or are you merely an accessory to make someone else look good.
This applies to vertical industries, recruiting and job boards, directories and anything else that is a collation. We live in remarkable times where you can control your message and brand and broadcast it to the world. Why would you forfeit that great opportunity? The world is flat now. Go make something happen and pick yourself.
What are your thoughts?