Exceptionalism is the belief that a particular group, individual, or thing is exceptional or superior in some way. In marketing, leveraging exceptionalism can help brands stand out and create a unique and compelling identity that sets them apart from competitors.
Let’s explore some effective ways to use exceptionalism in marketing and boost sales:
1. Emphasize Your Unique Selling Proposition
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what sets your brand apart from the rest of the market. By emphasizing your USP in your marketing materials, you can communicate to your audience why you are exceptional and why they should choose you over the competition. For example, if you are a sustainable clothing brand, you can emphasize your commitment to eco-friendly materials and ethical production practices in your marketing materials.
Example: TOMS Shoes is a great example of a brand that leverages exceptionalism through its unique selling proposition. TOMS’ “One for One” campaign promises to donate a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes purchased. This sets TOMS apart from other shoe brands and creates a powerful message that resonates with consumers.
2. Embrace your weaknesses and use them to your advantage
Turning your weaknesses into strengths is a creative and effective way to leverage exceptionalism and create a unique brand identity. By embracing your weaknesses and finding a way to turn them into strengths, you can showcase your exceptional qualities and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
To implement this idea, start by identifying your weaknesses. What are the things that your customers or competitors perceive as shortcomings? Once you’ve identified your weaknesses, find a way to turn them into strengths. For example, if you’re a small business competing against larger companies, you could position yourself as the “underdog” and use that to your advantage by highlighting your exceptional customer service and dedication to making the customer happy.
Example: Avis car rental company leverages its exceptionalism by turning its weakness into strength. In its “We Try Harder” campaign, the company positioned itself as the second-best car rental company, and used that to its advantage by highlighting its exceptional customer service and dedication to making the customer happy.
3. Create a Limited Edition Product
This idea leverages exceptionalism by creating a product that is unique and rare, which sets it apart from other products in the market. This sense of uniqueness can create a perception of exceptionalism around the product and the brand, which can help build a strong brand image and increase brand loyalty.
Creators can use this idea by identifying a product that has the potential to be rare and unique, and creating a limited edition version of it. This can be done by using unique materials, creating unique packaging, or by limiting the production quantity. By creating a sense of exclusivity around the product, creators can generate buzz and excitement, which can lead to increased sales and brand recognition.
Example: Nike has a history of releasing limited edition sneakers that are highly sought after by sneaker enthusiasts. One of the most popular limited edition releases by Nike is the Air Jordan collection. The Air Jordan sneakers are released in limited quantities and with unique designs that are not available in regular collections. This sense of exclusivity has helped Nike build a loyal following of sneaker enthusiasts who eagerly await new limited edition releases.
4. Emphasize Your Uniquely Talented Team
This idea leverages exceptionalism by showcasing the individual strengths of team members, which can create a perception of exceptionalism around the company. By highlighting the unique qualities of each team member, companies can communicate their dedication to excellence and their commitment to bringing the best talent to the table.
Example: Google’s “People & Culture” page is an excellent example of how the company emphasizes the unique talents and backgrounds of its employees to showcase its exceptionalism. The page features profiles of various employees from different teams and locations around the world, highlighting their individual stories, interests, and expertise.
Each profile on the page emphasizes the exceptional nature of the employee, showcasing their unique talents and contributions to the company.
For example, one profile features a software engineer who is also a world champion Rubik’s cube solver, emphasizing his exceptional problem-solving skills. Another profile features a sales operations analyst who is also an Olympic bronze medalist in Taekwondo, emphasizing her exceptional drive and discipline.
The “People & Culture” page also emphasizes the diversity of the Google team, showcasing employees from various ethnic, cultural, and educational backgrounds. By highlighting the diversity of its team, Google is able to emphasize its commitment to inclusivity and showcase its exceptionalism in the industry.
5. Take a Stance on Social Issues
To effectively leverage exceptionalism, it is important to take a clear and outspoken stance on the social issue. This requires committing to the issue and being willing to speak up, even if it is not a popular or uncontroversial stance to take. By doing so, you can demonstrate your brand’s unique and exceptional commitment to making a difference and taking a leadership role in the industry.
Example: Ben & Jerry’s has taken a strong stance on issues like climate change and racial justice, creating a brand identity that is closely tied to social activism.
6. Create Exceptional Content
By creating exceptional content, creators can provide added value to customers and establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry. This can be done through high-quality articles, videos, podcasts, or social media posts. By creating exceptional content, creators can differentiate themselves from competitors and provide a unique experience for customers.
Exceptional content leverages exceptionalism by providing added value to customers and establishing the creator as a thought leader in their industry. This sets the creator apart from competitors who may offer more generic or low-quality content.
Example: One example of a creator who creates exceptional content is Marie Forleo. The entrepreneur and author creates high-quality videos, articles, and social media posts that provide added value to her audience and establish her as a thought leader in the entrepreneurship and personal development industry.
7. Be Bold and Fearless
Being bold and fearless in your marketing approach means taking calculated risks that go beyond your industry’s norm. It is about being daring and standing out in a crowded marketplace by doing things that no one else has done before. This approach leverages exceptionalism because it requires a willingness to go against the grain and challenge the status quo, which is the hallmark of exceptional individuals and organizations.
Example: Red Bull is known for its extreme sports marketing campaigns, sponsoring events like the Red Bull Air Race, the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, and the Red Bull Rampage. By associating its brand with extreme sports, Red Bull has been able to stand out in a crowded energy drink market and carve out a unique niche for itself.
In addition to its extreme sports marketing, Red Bull has also been fearless in its marketing approach by taking risks with unconventional campaigns. One such campaign was the Red Bull Stratos project, which involved Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner breaking the world record for highest skydive from a helium balloon at the edge of space. The campaign was a huge success, generating massive media attention and solidifying Red Bull’s reputation as a brand that is willing to take risks and do things differently.
8. Exceptional Convenience
Highlight the exceptional convenience of a product or service. This approach leverages exceptionalism by emphasizing the ease of use and accessibility of the product or service. For example, a meal kit delivery service could highlight the exceptional convenience of their pre-portioned, ready-to-cook meals.
Example: HelloFresh offers pre-measured ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes that are designed to be prepared in 30 minutes or less. They also offer flexible delivery options, so customers can receive their meal kits on a schedule that works for them. HelloFresh emphasizes their exceptional convenience by highlighting the time and effort saved by using their service, as well as the high-quality ingredients they source. This approach sets them apart from other meal kit services that may not offer the same level of convenience, and emphasizes the exceptionalism of their service.
9. Leverage industry recognition to showcase exceptionalism
By showcasing industry recognition and awards, businesses can demonstrate their exceptionalism to their customers and competitors. Winning industry awards or being recognized as a leader in a specific field can set a business apart and demonstrate that it is exceptional in its industry. This can build trust and credibility with customers and position the business as a leader in its field.
Example: Michelin Guide is the highest form of recognition in the restaurant industry. Restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars are considered to be exceptional in their field and are highly sought after by customers. By leveraging their Michelin star rating, restaurants can showcase their exceptionalism and set themselves apart from competitors.
10. Offer Unmatched Customer Service
Exceptional customer service can be a powerful tool to showcase a brand’s exceptionalism. By offering an experience that goes beyond what customers expect, a brand can create a positive reputation and build long-term loyalty.
To implement this strategy, brands can offer personalized and attentive customer service, fast and efficient problem-solving, and a friendly and welcoming attitude towards customers. Brands can also offer unique and exceptional service experiences such as surprise gifts or personalized messages.
Example: Zappos is known for its exceptional customer service, which includes free shipping and returns, a 365-day return policy, and a 24/7 customer service hotline.
There are several cognitive biases that are similar to exceptionalism,
Confirmation bias: This is the tendency to seek out and interpret information in a way that confirms preexisting beliefs or expectations.
Self-serving bias: This is the tendency to attribute positive events to one’s own abilities and negative events to external factors.
Illusory superiority: This is the tendency for individuals to overestimate their own abilities or qualities relative to others.
Hindsight bias: This is the tendency to believe, after an event has occurred, that one would have predicted or expected the outcome.
“How to Use the Psychology of Exceptionalism to Increase Conversions” by Neil Patel (https://neilpatel.com/blog/exceptionalism/)
“The Power of Exceptionalism in Marketing: Why Your Brand Shouldn’t Blend In” by Amberly Dressler (https://www.brandingmag.com/2015/08/04/the-power-of-exceptionalism-in-marketing-why-your-brand-shouldnt-blend-in/)
“How to Use Confirmation Bias in Marketing” by Joanna Wiebe (https://copyhackers.com/2015/11/how-to-use-confirmation-bias-in-marketing/)
“Confirmation Bias and Its Impact on Marketing” by Whitney Blankenship (https://www.omnisend.com/blog/confirmation-bias-and-its-impact-on-marketing/)
“Avoiding Confirmation Bias in Your Marketing Campaigns” by Brian Sutter (https://www.business.com/articles/avoiding-confirmation-bias-in-your-marketing-campaigns/)
“How to Use Self-Serving Bias in Marketing” by Pauline Cabrera (https://twelveskip.com/guide/marketing/1147/self-serving-bias-in-marketing)
“Leverage Self-Serving Bias to Influence and Persuade” by Sonia Simone (https://www.copyblogger.com/self-serving-bias/)
“Understanding the Self-Serving Bias in Marketing” by Andrew Gazdecki (https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewgazdecki/2016/05/03/understanding-the-self-serving-bias-in-marketing/#1d9cc67b6821)
“The Power of Illusory Superiority in Marketing” by Preeti Vasudevan (https://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/2018/08/the-power-of-illusory-superiority-in-marketing.html)
“How to Harness the Power of the Illusory Superiority Bias in Your Marketing” by Ash Read (https://buffer.com/resources/illusory-superiority-bias-marketing/)
“The Art of Persuasion: Using Illusory Superiority in Marketing” by Chris Birt (https://www.eurodigitalpartners.com/the-art-of-persuasion-using-illusory-superiority-in-marketing/)
“Hindsight Bias and How to Avoid It in Your Marketing” by Nicole Martins Ferreira (https://www.oberlo.com/blog/hindsight-bias)
“Using Hindsight Bias to Your Advantage in Marketing” by Samantha Novick (https://www.biznessapps.com/blog/using-hindsight-bias-to-your-advantage-in-marketing/)
“The Role of Hindsight Bias in Decision Making” by Ravi Mehta and Rui Zhu (https://hbr.org/2015/07/the-role-of-hindsight-bias-in-decision-making)