Who is your competition and how do you position yourself among them?

by Christine Unterthiner

I used to ask this question of every new client that came to us for branding. It seemed so important; after all, it was considered our role as a design firm to make sure the client stood out from the competition.

I don't ask that question anymore because I don't believe there really is any competition. I can hear you now, "What? You're crazy! I have lots of competitors out there".

Consider for a moment the corner of East Second and Commercial Drive in Vancouver; there are three coffee shops on that corner and each of them seems to have a steady stream of patrons. Why? Because they're competing with each other? I don't think so. Yes, they all serve coffee but, take a closer look. Each of them has their own unique bent, whether it's a welcoming family setting, glimmers of the old country or a trendy locale. While they may think they're in competition, they've actually created, encouraged and fostered their own tribe, those people who line up at their door because of who they are and what they stand for.

We all have that thing that makes us unique.

It's that one thing you do, or have, that everyone comes to you for, or it comes so easily and effortlessly to you that you think everyone can do it.

If you're like me, you may find yourself thinking, "I don't know what it is, really I don't". And, I admit, it wasn't easy to find at first. I noticed I was afraid of saying it out loud, after all, once I did, it would become real! I also doubted myself – what if I got it wrong?

Back to the point. Yes, you may be one of many in your area of work or practice however, there's only one of you with your unique qualities that connect to your people. I encourage you to be yourself, follow your heart and do the things that make you happy. If you like something, let people know; if you're good at something, let people know that too.

This is a big world full of many diverse and wonderful people. Stay true to yourself and who you are, let people know you're there – shout it from the rooftops if you have to – and those that are meant to find you will find you (and you'll find them).