On your commute to work how many businesses do you think you pass? A standard train commute from Oxford to London passes over two thousand businesses visible from the train track, but if asked to recall any of those businesses I imagine most passengers would be hard pushed to recall two or three. Why?

They don’t stand out. They don’t intrigue. They don’t provoke an emotional reaction.

Standing out is great for business, regardless of whether you’re a B2B or a B2C company. When you do things differently and create intrigue, people talk about your company, they share your ideas; they do your marketing for you.

Think about the most talked about businesses in your city. In the county I live in (Oxfordshire), people often talk about the Mini Plant when driving past as it has full-size cars glued to the side of the building. When driving through Theale, people talk about the beautiful wildlife on the grounds of Arlington Business Park. These simple touches probably create hundreds, perhaps thousands of conversations every single day.

Conversations like these are great for business, especially nowadays where converstations extend into the social sphere. That glued car on the side of the Mini Plant may end up in a tweet that is seen by 10,000 people, it may provoke someone to take a photo and post it on their blog; that photo may then be used by journalists in an article. And here is evidence of exactly that happening:

That said, you don’t need to glue giant products to your building to stand out. Having amazing customer service on Twitter works wonders for helping companies like Dell, and Xbox stand out, having innovative 3D business cards can get people talking about you. Being innovative in general and being the first to try new things can help your business stand out, providing those innovations are interesting and intriguing.

My advice is to objectively stop and think ‘how does my business stand out?’ and to then double whatever you’re currently doing to be different to stand out even more.