It never fails to happen. November 1 hits and I’m bombarded with Black Friday sale announcements.  And it’s not even the typical big-box stores.  It’s the small businesses and solopreneurs who are buzz building, too.  One of the Facebook groups I belong to had a giant thread telling everyone to post their Black Friday offers.  It was all I could do to not sigh in frustration that this is still going on and that people and businesses haven’t realized that this isn’t always a viable business builder.

Marketing is dead.  Marketing tries to convince.  It’s a slippery slope that can result in your business being a victim of Commoditization.

Fascination snaps your customer’s focus on your message.

REI announced it would honor its employees family time and close on Black Friday.  In this announcement, it encouraged everyone to go outside and spend time with their families.

We were focused on their message.

They value their employees. They aren’t bowing to commercialism.

REI isn’t selling anything. But from a Fascination perspective, REI has my attention.  They not only cemented loyalty among their customers, they probably grew their raving fan base. We as a culture were fascinated.

One of Sally Hogshead’s tenets of Fascination is “Different is better than better.”

It’s not enough to have the best service or product if no one notices or cares. It has to be about providing distinct value.

REI provided distinct value to its employees by closing Black Friday.  It also provided distinct value to its ideal customer – the ones who are tired of the usual business practices that Black Friday brings – the drive to the bottom, that whoever has the best price wins.

REI defeated the Commoditization threat.

How does this apply to business owners and professionals:

You don’t have to be like everyone else.  Different is better than better.

When you are different, you are providing distinct value in a way that only you can.  Whether you are a business owner or professional, be that category of one – the one person who can do what you do in the way you do it.