Monday, February 22, 2010

What's Your Signature Move?

It's like Tolstoy said. Unhappy families are each unhappy in their own ways, while happy families are often alike. Similarly, companies that fail or struggle often are that way due to any multitude of variety factors. However, the success stories are often that way because they share in common one key trait. In addition to being good at what they do, they have certain signature moves or branding that stand out. Whether it's their logo, or what they publish, or the way that they tweet or deliver speeches, you know what company it is in one second.

Much has been written about Steve Jobs, for example, and how each time he launches a new product he wears his "uniform" of jeans and a black turtleneck on stage. Trader Joe's distinguishes itself from your typical chain supermarket by being anachronistic, touting the pirate ship motif and a retro chic look to its newsletter, The Fearless Flyer. I don't eat that much ice cream (OK, I eat a fair amount of ice cream), but every year for my birthday, Baskin-Robbins sends me a coupon for a free scoop, and I'm so there.

Social media expert Chris Brogan has a way of ending his blog posts by asking: What say you?

The Olympics are always an inspiration. Michelle Kwan, one of my all-time favorite figure skaters, had a signature move, the "change of edge spiral," in which she skated on a very strong forward inside edge and did a beautiful spiral, then changed to an outside edge without moving her extended free leg.

OK, so I don't know much about spirals and my triple loop is a tad rusty, but for my business, my butterfly logo has really helped me standout over the years. Every time I share it with someone, I get a positive comment. I don't have to explain what the butterfly means to me, (although I have - it's tied into clarity of expression), because it's more important at that moment that it has significance for the other person. Even though it's my signature, it still has meaning and resonance for others. Another signature move I have is creating customized packages for clients that can address their needs in specific ways.

So what about you? What's your signature move?

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