Setting yourself apart in what is the competitive and hurried market place of today can be a difficult and daunting task, one that often ends in defeat. Yet, it doesn’t have to. What distinguishes the successful brands from their counterpart is their ability to push the boundaries, innovate and essentially blaze a path for their followers. But don’t take my word for it, take advice from the biggest names in tech. From Apple and Yahoo to Facebook and Amazon, there is much to be learned from these inventive companies and their incredibly capable leaders. It’s time to think outside the box- push past conventional logic and embrace the future.
Mark Zuckerberg: Be Original
When you are struggling to come up with fresh ideas for your business, it may be tempting to look to newer brands that have found success and copy what they’re doing. Now it is, of course, always wise to be receptive to trends and pay attention to what’s working for others. Yet replicating the successes from other businesses is not only inauthentic, but lazy. Chances are, when you repeat what’s already been done, it won’t be as good, either.
Zuckerberg touched on this when discussing the downfall of Myspace. In his opinion, Myspace unwisely copied what Facebook was doing when it first became popular. He says, “They felt threatened by us and copied us, and you’re never going to win that way. Companies getting started now that are just trying to copy what other people are doing aren’t successful.” Nevertheless, there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by other companies. If you are particularly struck by a certain design, strategy, product, or campaign, utilize it to harness a creative brainstorm- don’t simply copy it. Use that idea as motivation to find other creative ideas that work for your business. Brainstorm ways to make pieces of that idea unique for your own audience, your own purpose, and your own services or products. It’s never easy, but being original always pays off.
Marissa Mayer: Don’t be afraid of challenges
Haven’t you heard the saying, “Nothing good in life every comes easy?” Sure, taking the easy route may work for a little while (a very short while) but its bound to lead you to a dead end eventually. Its true, stepping out of your comfort zone as a business can be scary. Yet taking on challenges that go beyond your normal level of comfort can render great results.
As Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer says, “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. That feeling at the end of the day, where you’re like, ‘what have I gotten myself into?’ I realized that sometimes when you have that feeling and you push through it, something really great happens.”
If a certain path for your business seems especially daunting, don’t shy away from it. Whether your business is undergoing a rebrand, using social media for the first time, or launching a new marketing campaign, leaving your comfort zone behind is as valiant as it is rewarding. Even when things get difficult, following through and achieving what you set out to do will pay off in the long run.
Jeff Bezos: Failure is okay sometimes
As times change, your business is undoubtedly forced to adapt and evolve. When you undergo these changes, however, they may not always work out. If the marketing campaign flops, a new product misses the mark with customers, or you run into controversy, don’t dwell on it for too long. Failure happens and that’s okay.
Amazon is another tech company that has found tremendous success. However, the company has had its fair share of controversies – some would call them failures. Yet Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has not been hindered by any of this. As he recognizes, “If you want to be inventive, you have to be willing to fail.” Being bold and innovative inevitably opens your brand up to failure.
No business gets it right one hundred percent of the time. Even the most successful brands fail sometimes. The best thing to do when your business stumbles is to get back up and keep going. If you have reliable PR strategies in place and a strong vision of your future, your business can and will recover from a loss.
Steve Jobs: Always look forward
Whether your business is currently enjoying newfound success or recuperating from a disappointing campaign outcome, it’s important to keep your eyes on the future. Don’t stop when you’ve won or lost one battle. There’s certainly a time and place for celebration or retreat, but make sure you don’t pause for too long. Always thinking about your next move will get you ahead.
Steve Jobs had some inspiring words for those recovering from a loss: “Let’s go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday.” Instead of wallowing in regret, think about how you can help your business succeed in the future. For those who have found success, Jobs has some advice, too. As he says, “I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”
As a leader of your business, it’s best to stay on your toes at all times. Your brand’s journey isn’t over once you’ve passed (or failed to pass) one roadblock. Be perceptive to the challenges up ahead and don’t stop moving forward.