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“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel

This is the second in my series of blog posts from the Inbound Marketing Summit which I recently attended in Boston. I had the privilege of hearing some of the world’s marketing thought leaders including Youngme Moon, chair of the Harvard M.B.A. program and author of the book, Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd. Here is a video that beautifully sums up her philosophy.

Youngme told those in attendance that in order to be different we must learn to say “yes” when others say “no.” She used both Ikea and Mini Cooper as case studies showing examples from the hilarious Mini Cooper ad campaign. She said at a time when Americans were all driving gas guzzling SUV’s, Mini Cooper came on the scene and flaunted its tininess. She provided an interesting twist on the age-old advice to listen to your customers. “Customers will tell you how to improve, not how to be different,: she said. “They look at what’s offered by your competitors. If you want to be different you must resist the temptation to over-listen to your customers.” Citing twitter as a “different” example she asked who would have thought a 140 character limit would become such a popular social media platform? “Different and crazy can look the same at first. To be different is to be alone.” She concluded by urging us all to be passionate in business because, “passion is contagious.”

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