In Be Responsive, I described an important way to separate yourself from your competition. I have been meaning to write an article on other ways to differentiate yourself for some time now. I just needed a spark …
A few months ago, I found an oddly shaped package sitting on top of the rest of the mail in the mailbox. It was from Ontario. I took the mail upstairs, placed it on the kitchen counter and made myself a cup of coffee. That done, I turned my attention to the mail. Bills and solicitations were the order of the day but there was still this interesting package from a mysterious address. When I opened it, I was at once amazed and delighted to discover that its content was none other than a big package of Silly Bandz! I opened the package, placed one on my wrist and ran upstairs to my office to send a certain Ryan Hupher a big thank you.
Ok … let’s rewind the clock.
When we launched Life As A Human, one of my first priorities was to find a good company to partner with to help us serve up ads. I had done a lot of research and found a few possible suitors. I contacted these companies but was told we were too new and that I should ‘reach out’ again to them in 6 months. Six months later, I did just that … and never heard a thing back from them. Frustrated ( and a little annoyed ), I decided to look for other potential solutions which is when I found a company called Isocket while checking out what ad-platforms sites like TechCrunch use.
I contacted Isocket. Ryan Hupher replied almost immediately. We scheduled a call to discuss our needs. He gave me as much time as I needed and was genuinely interested in knowing more about Life As A Human, how it all started, what our vision was … you know … all the stuff a good executive wants to know so that he can present the best possible solutions to a potential partner. Though for now at least, we are small potatoes compared to some of his other clients like Mashable, TechCrunch & Grooveshark, Ryan was nonetheless courteous, professional, informative, and a lot of fun.
So what does this all have to do with Silly Bandz and separating yourself from the competition? A few weeks before the mysterious package arrived, I had been speaking with Ryan on the phone. During that call I asked him why his status message on one of his social media channels says:
“Yes, I’m Wearing A Silly Bandz”
He asked if my kids had ever played with Silly Bandz. I told him that to the best of my knowledge, my kids, now grown ups, had never played with Silly Bandz. Ryan explained to me that Silly Bandz were all the rage where he grew up and he described them to me in detail. I told him I would have to check them out. We chatted a bit more then said our goodbyes and I went back to doing my work, forgetting altogether about Silly Bandz.
A few weeks later, I am e-mailing Ryan a thank you note while actually wearing a Silly Bandz. While getting the package was very cool, that Ryan thought to do it in the first place is a testament to his character and his customer relations skills. You see, Ryan intrinsically understands that building strong relationships that are based on trust and respect are more important than simply providing a service. He recognizes that developing a relationship has greater lasting value than just knowing how much content we have, or how many page-views we get, or who hosts our site. On a playing field replete with self-centered, self-serving and non-responsive people, these attributes set him apart. They differentiate him and by extension, Isocket from what can at best be described as an ocean of mediocrity. Because he cares, he pays attention. Because he pays attention, he knows I am also a musician which is why he sent me the RockBandz.
Isocket is a young, creative and innovative company that have a great product for publishers and advertisers. But no matter how great their product or service might be, ultimately, it’s their people that make the difference. Apparently, they understand and have fully embraced this key differentiator.
Great job Hup!
Photo From Silly Bandz Web Site