Find Your Edge
When you have the trazillion dollar marketing legacy of McDonalds behind you, your franchise does NOT need to find your edge. In fact, you want to be cookie-cutter-right-off-the-factory-line samesies as every other McDonalds franchise because customers expect a consistent experience no matter which McDs they roll into.
But when your town has more Mickey Ds than elementary schools, you’ve got competition. The franchise holder down the road is hoping the post prom crowd is going to use his spot for their Tik Toks and french fries and the corporate McDonalds doesn’t care which franchise they visit because it’s still cash in their pocket.
So, my friend, if you want to build your empire, you’ve gotta find your edge. Make yours a Rock-N-Roll Cafe.
You ARE Different
It’s just that you haven’t thought through exactly how you’re different.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – you could be making bespoke broaches for cats – you have competition. Even if you think you’re soooooooo unique. Don’t forget: Sometimes your competition is your potential customer’s choice to do nothing. To not buy. Who actually needs a cat broach?
In other words, your market is crowded, whether you like it or not.
The way to stand out is to find your edge – the thing that makes you unique and different. The cinnamon caramel in a world of vanilla ice cream.
You won’t be everyone’s favorite flavor but you’ll be some people’s go-to, no-questions-asked, extra sprinkles top choice.
Edgy Can Mean Contrarian
Stirring the pot is one of my all time favorite activities. As early as third grade, I was organizing my classmates and mounting campaigns that questioned the status quo. That is, I was every teacher’s most troublesome student (sorry, not sorry Mrs. Jones ❤️) and student hero of the week for getting that English test cancelled in 11th grade.
Questioning the status quo is a part of my constitution. While it still takes some pluck and therapy, it’s what led me to publish blog posts like this one, this one, and this one, which get me emails of admiration and DMs of venom to this day.
To find your edge, list what’s accepted as “common sense” in your field and examine it through your own unique lens. Look for the holes. Talk about them.
It takes a good deal of privilege and a strong support system to buck a trend on Twitter. Some people don’t have the social safety to speak up like that.
But here’s the thing: Contrarian doesn’t mean you have to be cranky, snobby, and up late at night smashing out snarky responses in the depths of the comment thread on your blog. In fact, when your industry is full of cantankerous men cracking at each other online, doing the same makes you vanilla. The contrarian move would be kindness.
So, my Cinnamon Sweet, what’s your edge? Bust out your business journal and write down 5 things that make you different from the others in your field. Then write to me and tell me what they are. We’ll put bells on them and celebrate.