Mr. Magazine's M.O.: ‘Dare to Be Different’ and Other Tips for Success in an Innovative World
I have a collection of more than 1,000 neckties, however one of them stands apart from all the rest. It is a red tie with tens of white sheep and one—and only one—black sheep. I wear it to class the very first day of school mainly to remind the students about the need to be different. Forget unique. There is nothing unique in this world. A sheep is a sheep is sheep. However, a black sheep is different than a white sheep, and thus the theme of the class becomes "Dare to Be Different."
➊ Dare to Be Different and Better
Almost on a daily basis I receive phone calls and e-mails from folks who want to start a new magazine. They all start with the same opening line, "There is nothing like it on the marketplace." My typical answer, "Guess what? There is a reason there is nothing like on the marketplace. It does not work." So my first tip is always to dare to be different and better than what is out there. There is no such thing as unique. Every publication out there has a different DNA; find out what your DNA is and mingle with the crowds. If you are better and different you will stand out.
➋ Romance the Customer
Being better and different means you have to know and romance your customer, your intended audience that you are aiming to reach to sell a different and better message. We spend so much time nowadays romancing the technology where, in reality, it is not the technology you need, my friend, but the customer. Falling in love with your customer requires knowing that customer, dating that customer and partnering with that customer. There is no better tip than falling in love with your customer. Romancing the stone—or the technology—will take you nowhere.