It boggles my mind how many brands talk a good game about being different, standing out from the competition and somehow they ignore the only effective and valuable way of doing it.

You need to stand for something.

Times are tough, budgets are tight and more and more brands seem to choose the path of standing for nothing. Can you name an insurance company that stands for anything? A car rental company? A TV manufacturer? Technology provider?

In the media world, there are hundreds of ad networks. And when you explore their sites or talk to the sales reps you always get the same litany: “We’re the largest ad network in…” “We have the best technology to…” While they’re talking, they’re also opening the door to competitors to come in and take away their business by doing something better, be cheaper, have a better promotion or more efficient distribution.

Most companies operate under “It’s our way or the cul-de-sac”

Managing, designing or operating by committee puts you at an disadvantage before you even launch a product or launch any marketing initiative. Sure, there are many brands that succeed and prosper by following this recipe. Competition can creep up on them and eliminate the brand from the marketplace in no time.

When you stand for something, when you believe in something that transcends pure profit-making you have a clear advantage. Don’t get me wrong, making money is not a bad thing because it allows to make even bigger and better things. The question is how are you making it and what you do with it once you’ve got it. Is your positioning a committee compromise or a reflection of the values and beliefs that direct your company?

In short: Are you operating under “It’s my way or the highway.”