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A blog about branding, marketing, and design, mostly through the lens of practical psychology, intended to be a resource to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Unless otherwise noted, all articles are written by Nyla Smith, owner of n-Vision Designs. {Subscribe to the RSS feed here: RSS}

"X" is for: X-factor

Nyla Smith | Tuesday, June 14, 2016

No, I’m not referring to the singing competition with the ever-delightful Simon Cowell. Good news: you don’t need to be able to sing or perform in order for your brand to have an x-factor. Do you know what yours is?

An x-factor is some quality – maybe difficult to describe or put your finger on – that makes something special and unique. We may not be able to put it into words, but we recognize it just the same.

As a brand, you want that for yourself. As a brand, you want others to be impacted by you, be emotional about you, be impressed by you, be drawn to you. As a brand, you don’t want to be just another fill-in-the-blank, you want to be the one that people remember, the one that people resonate with, the one that people WANT to do business and be in relationship with.

While there are a lot of factors that will impact these outcomes — customer service, pricing, responsiveness, quality — a huge one is your x-factor.

Speaking of singing competitions, think about how this applies to musicians and artists. There are some great singers in this world. Technically, they have all the training and can hit all the notes. But there are some that seem to elevate past “great” to “indescribable”. Those performers that embody something really special... “it” – whatever “it” may be. Think of Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna. They are larger than life. More than just good singers, there is something about them that radiates from within them, and pulls people to them when they perform. The x-factor.

So do you know what your x-factor is? Every brand should try to tap into theirs.

Part of the x-factor is personality. Yes, even your brand has a personality. When you have a strong primary brand personality, you inherently draw certain people to you like a magnet. That’s usually the effect of the x-factor: magnetism.

Part of the x-factor is authenticity. It is the boldness to be you and not mimic someone else. As brands and businesspeople, it is wise of course to look at what’s been done and what others are doing. Learn what you can from that, but don’t let it box you in and stifle your own uniqueness.

Part of the x-factor is confidence. It is the trust that you have in your innate ability or products to serve someone and make a difference in a way only you can. It is the firmness to stand on a certain viewpoint or value system and not be swayed by nay-sayers or competition. Confidence is not arrogance, but a certain poise that allows others to believe in and be inspired by you.

So, take a moment to think about what makes you different. Don’t be afraid to ask others (your customers, your partners, your vendors), as others can often tell you more about yourself than you’d think. From their perspective, they may see your potential where you don’t. Your x-factor comes down to your unique perspective and interpretation, and how you express it. THIS should be the building block of your brand. Until you recognize that you have an x-factor, and embrace it fully, you may be lacking the clarity, passion, and focus that could help propel you to the next level. So, what are you waiting for?

Nyla Smith is a Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Front-End Web Developer and Consultant with over 12 years of experience. She is the owner of n-Vision Designs, LLC in Hampton, Virginia, which exists to provide marketing support and brand consulting to small- and medium-sized businesses needing creative solutions. Contact Nyla if you'd like to discuss your next creative project. She can usually be bribed to a meeting with a cup of green tea and an oatmeal cookie.
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