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Buffet vs. Gourmet: Showcasing your specialty


In Houston, we have a very large, sprawling temple to consumerism called The Galleria. It is a ginormous monument to excess and Mecca for those jonesing for retail therapy. No matter what day or time I’ve gone there, it is busy. Plenty of people love the concept of a single destination—however huge—to shop for whatever they, ahem, need.

I find all that overwhelming. Unless I park in a known area near the store I’m visiting, I lose my way…and my car. Not my cup of tea. I avoid it. I’m not a superstore kind of gal.

I like to shop the neighborhood as much as possible: smaller stores, easy parking, less overwhelm. I like the quirky local hardware store, the little RadioShack, the local boutique, the corner bakery, and the gift shop with unusual offerings. I like that experience.

Personal preferences drive your brand. Companies or organizations may offer the same products or services, but appeal to different client bases. Each business has its own flavor—its brand personality and the brand experience it delivers. For that reason, it’s important to define your brand personality and to curate your brand experience. If you follow what your competitors do—rather than observe and learn from them—you’ll miss an opportunity to differentiate your brand from the herd.

If you try to be everything to everybody by offering an overwhelming buffet of products or services, rather than showcasing what makes you great, your brand will blur into just one of many rather than standing out with a distinctive flavor of its own. Most will be impressed by a gourmet experience, but few will remember anything distinctive about just another buffet. What makes your business memorable?

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Content and Congruence: Getting your story straight

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