I have often been teased for being brainy and intellectualizing personal problems. I tend to think more than feel. I rationalize more than empathize. I am INTP.
I have never gone so far as to try to hide my smarts but I certainly have often seen it as a weakness instead of a strength. Like it’s something to be managed instead of something to be exploited.
This week in Quiet Power Strategy™: The Program, our clients completed Quiet Power Inventories. These begin with understanding your Onlyness. Onlyness is a concept from Nilofer Merchant’s book, 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era, and she uses it to talk about the unique angle that each of us bring to the work that we do.
From my perspective, Onlyness also applies to brands–it’s a big part of where they draw their Quiet Power from. The most memorable brands get really good at using what makes them unique to deliver additional value to their customers. And this often means focusing on what has become a perceived weakness and turning it into a genuine asset.
Instead of hiding what could be the butt of jokes, great brands put it out in the open. They exploit it.
Merchant writes in a recent post:
Your brand is the exhaust created by the engine of your life. It is a by-product of what happens as you share what you are creating, and with whom you are creating.
So if your engine is running on something–no matter how quirky it might be–and that’s not a key piece of what you’re putting out into the world, what’s representing you, what’s acting as a channel for the value you’re creating, you’re missing a big opportunity.
Don’t try to engineer a brand. Reverse-engineer a brand (click to tweet!) that supports your unique way of creating value.
My brand leverages my habit of intellectualizing and rationalizing. It sets my brand apart from brands that leverage fun & glamor or spirituality & poeticism. But its these unique strengths that allow each of these brands to deliver more value than they would if they were traveling down the middle of the road. And they are each things that could be perceived as weaknesses if not blatantly built into the very core of each business.
There’s a perception that there are certain “right” ways to create a brand or build the persona of your business. Whether you’ve bought into an image that ultra-professional, glam, corporate, spiritual, new age, or quirky, if the image of your business doesn’t spring from what you’re bringing to the table through your business’s unique skills, strengths, and passions, the resulting disconnect can drain you dry. Financially and energetically.
Your Onlyness helps you build a business model that really works. It informs your sales copy, your company culture, and your sales process. But, bottom line, it helps you & your business do what it does best.
As I mentioned earlier, often that thing that businesses are trying to hide, manage, or battle is the key to infusing Onlyness into their brand, business model, and sales process. It’s the thing they assume is keeping them from doing more, when that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Stop fighting it, start leveraging it.
If you’ve be struggling with how to manage a certain aspect of your personality or something that your business doesn’t do as well as you think it should, what would happen if you decided to highlight it? Harness it?
If you have a particular weakness that’s been nagging you for awhile, my friend & client Bridget Pilloud does this for a living. She helped me recast my social anxiety as a strength–which I’ve sense incorporated into my work in a big way.