“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.”

Scott Adams

You probably suspect someone is craving for your project. And that there’s a juicy piece of market waiting for your triumphant arrival.

Or perhaps the market is saturated with vendors and all the segments are served. Then you must dislodge a slacking competitor with a superior offering.

In any case, it is time to consider your strengths.

For this chapter, I recommend using the Brand Strategy Worksheet  at .

Step 1: Find out what makes your organization unique

We all have desirable traits, as individuals and organizations. These traits come in handy when executing on the opportunities you’re smelling.

A. Write down what your organization is good

Maybe you have a lot of money or a great network of partners. Perhaps it’s unique expertise or a number of patents.

Also write down the things that you stand for, the things you want your brand to breathe. Commonly called ‘values’, some examples are:

B. Write down what your organization stands

You now have a list of things that make you unique. But perhaps it isn’t enough.

Often, organizations don’t have all the resources they need. The talent, money, network or internal drive required to conquer new segments just isn’t there.

Or perhaps you yourself lack the brains, bucks, buddies or balls to chase your dreams

Finding the resources to exploit opportunity is a chicken-egg problem.

Without the success, you don’t have the resource to generate success.

But there is a solution. You can stack your resources until you have a combination that – taken together – is unique.

The cartoonist Scott Adams describes his ‘talent stack’ as follows:

I don’t have much artistic talent, and I’ve never taken a writing class. But few people are good at both drawing and writing. When you add in my ordinary business skills, my strong work ethic, my risk tolerance, and my reasonably good sense of humor, I’m fairly unique. And in this case, that uniqueness has commercial value. (Emphasis mine)

You can combine seemingly ordinary resources to become extraordinary.

If you lack a skill, you can learn it to set yourself apart from others. This can take time, but every extra skill opens up more opportunities.

Describe how your strengths and values mix to make you

Organizations can fill some gaps where necessary, but often not all gaps.
Focus on how to become extraordinary enough for the opportunity ahead.

Fill the top-right quadrant of the Brand Strategy (Optional)

Step 2: List the ways in which your project is useful

The project you are branding has some obvious qualities.

A. Write down the tangible benefits of your project.

But usefulness goes beyond what your project does.

For example, you don’t just buy a car because it has good mileage. It’s about how it makes you feel and who you are when you drive your BMW to your jealous friends.

You don’t just vote for a politician because she supports or opposes gay marriage. It’s about who you are as a liberal or conservative.

It’s why designer clothes are uniquely useful. They are not uniquely durable or insulating. But they can communicate to others that you’re successful and should be respected.

Positive emotions and identities are as useful as tangible benefits.

B. Write down the intangible benefits and identities of your project.

Now, most projects offer many benefits. However, not all of them are useful in themselves. But often, like with resources, you can combine benefits that stack up to something useful.

C. Describe how the (in)tangible benefits combine into something unique.

Remember, you must be able to offer something uniquely useful. Failing this, you will end up competing on price, not making any money.

D. Fill the top-right quadrant of the Brand Strategy Canvas. (Optional)

Summary and steps for considering your strengths

To take advantage of opportunities in the market, both your organization and your project have to be uniquely useful.

Step 1: Find out what makes your organization unique:

  1. List your strengths.
  2. Write down your values.
  3. Describe how your strengths and values mix to make you unique.
  4. Fill the top-right quadrant of the Brand Strategy Canvas.(Optional)

Step 2: List the ways in which your project is useful:

  1. Write down the tangible benefits of your project.
  2. Write down the intangible benefits and identities of your project.
  3. Describe how your (in)tangible benefits work together to make your project unique.
  4. Fill the bottom-right quadrant of the Brand Strategy Canvas.(Optional)