This article is part of a series of writings we’re sharing on our blog, which are excerpts from The Authentic Brand by Chris Rosica. This book explores, in depth, how authenticity impacts awareness, credibility, reputation, and brand perception for B2B, B2C, and nonprofit organizations.
Chapter 6 of The Authentic Brand, “Flying Under the Radar, a Great Way to Crash and Burn,” provides insights on how organizations can best leverage storytelling to strengthen thought leadership and stand apart from the competition. Read on for more details.
Why Should You be Flying Above the Radar
Through the years, we have met with and counseled countless CEOs, company presidents, entrepreneurs, marketing directors/vice presidents, all of whom wanted to improve their businesses and gain a competitive advantage. Despite the fact that these bright, tenacious, success-driven professionals were meeting with us —many chose to fly below the radar, keeping their success a secret.
We certainly understand the genuine need to safeguard proprietary technologies, business practices, or inventions, but you can worry only so much about what a competitor might do. Different people often have the same idea at the same time. Things just happen that way.
While a more cautious entrepreneur may choose to lie low and “fly under the radar,” the business leaders with whom we spoke took the high road, told the world about their companies, and disseminated their good news. As a result of putting their best face forward, they created successful companies and built significant brand equity.
Fishing Where the Fish Are
One such company and business leader that started low to later fly high was Jerry Baldwin and Starbucks. In the beginning, there was a tendency to shy away from advertising at Starbucks. “I used to say that we hid behind our product. I would much rather have seen a story about us on the feature page or the food page, rather than the business page. Coming from where we did, we didn’t even read the business page. That was for old guys. But today, everybody reads the business page.” recalls Jerry Baldwin.
Baldwin went on to say that an entrepreneur should think big and shouldn’t let fear of the competition hold him back. When Starbucks first thought about expanding from Seattle, the partners naturally considered Portland, because it was close. “There were many different cities in the Bay Area and clearly more opportunity. Will the competition be stiffer? Of course it will, but, let’s go. Fish where the fish are.” Baldwin is untethered by the restraints of competition. He believes that other companies should realize the same in order to maximize the potential of their business.
You can worry only so much about what a competitor might do. From our experience working with a wide array of product and service companies (and nonprofits) since 1980, flying under the radar is something that should not be practiced by the overwhelming majority of organizations today.
If you want to read more from Chapter 6 of The Authentic Brand, click here.
Chris is president of Rosica Communications, an award-winning national PR, digital marketing, and integrated marketing communications agency that specializes in the nonprofit, education, and human and animal healthcare sectors.