Differentiate Yourself

In the past thirty months, our On Leadership production team has taped and produced over 150 podcast interviews. We typically air episodes two to three months after the original taping and at any given time have eight to ten interviews “in the can.” I mention this because it also gives me time as the host and moderator to think about the interview perhaps longer than our listeners and viewers do.

There’s not a single interview I haven’t both enjoyed and learned from and one only that we taped and didn’t air (sorry—you’ll never know). Like any book you read or movie you watch, some stick with you longer than others. For me, that’s the interview with BJ Fogg.

First, his book cover is compelling. I bought it in an airport bookstore (sadly, back when those were an actual thing I visited on a weekly/daily/hourly basis). His book was set apart from all of the others because it was wrapped in what the industry calls a “belly band,” a laminated, three-inch wide paper sleeve that said something like “THIS BOOK WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.” Now tell me—who of you could ever resist buying a book that’s titled Tiny Habits and that’s wrapped in a band that says, “THIS BOOK WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE” I couldn’t.

I bought three.

It was an absolutely genius collaboration between the title and the marketing call to action. I didn’t even hesitate.

And then I read the book.

And then I invited him to appear on the podcast.

And then he delivered in spades.

Not only for his extraordinary insights about habit formation (something we know a thing or two (or seven) about at FranklinCovey) but for the actual information he shared from his decades at Stanford University as a researcher into human behavior. I encourage you to watch the entire interview—his knowledge and practical steps about making it easier for your customers to buy from you is profound.

But what’s more profound and the lesson I want to share in this blog is how he showed up.

Credible. Engaging. Relaxed. Likable. Prepared. All the attributes you’d hope for from a guest.

But he took it a step further. He did something nobody had done in the 130 interviews before him—he stood up and began to illustrate principles in real-time on a presentation board behind him. Not just a whiteboard or chart pad but something completely different, which I’d not seen in my 30-year career. It was captivating to see him bring academic research to life for us visual learners (nearly all of us) and then without hesitation, shared all of the details about how he was doing it and how you could too on your next video conference or virtual interview.

With a little extra thought, BJ completely differentiated himself from all of the guests prior. Now, not every interviewee needed to present on an innovative presentation board. But that isn’t the point. The big idea is his decision, deliberate or serendipitous, separated him from all our guests, and if you’ve subscribed for long, you know this is a list of renowned and extremely accomplished and engaging experts.

I have a friend, David Arraya, who is a well-known hotelier and currently serves as the general manager of the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado. He and I are co-authoring a career book to be released in 2021, and he recently shared with me a concept of “surprise and delight” that’s used in the hotel/hospitality world. Of course, he’s referring to how they treat their guests throughout the Auberge Resorts Collection. Ever stayed at an Auberge property? Then you know what David’s talking about. (He was formerly with The Four Seasons hotel group, so he’s clearly an expert on this concept.) Surprise and delight.

How are you differentiating your brand from others? Are you surprising and delighting?

You don’t need to show others up to show up yourself.


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About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company and grew up in Central Florida. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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