Addressing the Downfall of Originality | Episode 1

After discussing content duplication and other mimicking tactics, I wanted to talk more about the dying breed of originality. In this podcast I provide a few examples of ways people are chasing the success of others. I aim to inspire listeners to differentiate their value by harnessing the unique characteristics they bring to the table as a brand.
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The Downfall of Originality | Episode 1

by Jordan Trask | PreFocus Podcast

Welcome back to the PreFocus Podcast. Today, I wanted to talk a little bit more about originality. If you’ve read any of my recent posts and blogs, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been spending a lot of time unpacking duplicate content and the way it hinders brand perception. This idea that anyone can sell anything with premade scripts is the reason we’re experiencing a downfall of originality.

Example #1: “Follow My Plan” Guides.

Before I jump into my $free.99 perspective on the topic, I wanted to speak on a few examples that really show this to be true. When differentiating my services, I often reference the guaranteed, money making schemes that are all over social media. These guys will say anything that idolizes themselves.

This is usually very appealing to young people or those looking for shortcuts to wealth instead of putting in the work. All you have to do is purchase the step-by-step guide, right? It all sounds good and all, but the inevitable selling point is greed. What’s fulfilling about competing with someone that’s already done it? They want you to idolize them, desire to be like them or have what they have. It’s not about your success.

The Disadvantages of Duplicating “Success”.

Falling into these types of schemes can be demoralizing for someone seeking a purpose. Instead of looking into their skillset, competency and passion – they’re stuck, chasing after someone else’s. It’s no wonder so many entry level entrepreneurs fail. Sadly, many of them never recover – nor dare try again. Even if money is made, there is no fulfillment found in duplication.

This is what makes the downfall of originality so concerning and maddening to me. So many talented people aren’t even coming close to their potential because they’re led to believe they have to follow instead of pioneer. Waymaking entrepreneurs come to market with an original idea, that solves a problem they care about. Most influential people garner a following because of what they have to say – not what they repeat.

Look for Motivation Through Meaning Not Money.

Finding your purpose or true north is not something that can be duplicated or forced. It has to be found. You can’t seek it out when you’re trying to make a million dollars by the end of the year with quantitative methods. No matter how many steps you follow, tasks you execute, phone calls you make or emails you send – if the message isn’t purposeful or speaking into someone, it’s awfully difficult to set yourself apart as truly valuable.

I like using this example because so many good professionals are getting burned and wasting their calling. Failing to live up to a “successful” person’s roadmap doesn’t mean potential is lost. Not everyone is meant for every opportunity. It’s the hard work that always pays off. What type of thought-leader could you be? How can you put your passion into action? What problem do you see and how can you approach it in a unique way?

It Takes Courage to Chase an Original Idea.

I don’t mean to keep spinning my wheels on these ridiculous “money-makers” – but people have to be more discerning. People have to be able to believe in themselves. Who’s too say you can’t create a guide one day? Why buy into someone else when you can go “all in” on yourself. It’s something worth meditating on..

When you think about it, prominent brands are always willing to do something bigger, better or different. They look to figure out what stands out to consumers or what they’d appreciate. Quality operations take the time to look at data and invest in insight or direction.

Example #2: Home Remodeling “Pros”.

Who would have thought you could create a rest room right off the kitchen or bedroom in your own home. At one point, a hole in the ground, 100 feet from the house was leisure. Nobody would have created the flushing toilet if the entire marketplace settled on the idea of an outhouse – even though it was probably welcomed well. There had to be some passion for change and sight of opportunity for the bath room to come to life.

When you go “all in” on someone else’s idea, concept or process – the muster gets lost. I believe the same to be true in this new home improvement trend. It seems like all kinds of couples or bestie friends are teaming up at a shot to be the next social media stars. Even with minimal construction experience or understanding, some of these people really think they’re going to catch on.

I Didn’t Even Know This Was Such a Huge Thing.

I stumbled across this trend when I was researching the custom home market. Apparently, a few TV shows spurred an entire movement. Since I grew up working in residential framing and some commercial work after college, it was kind of luring. I was served all kinds of ads, mainly by realtors that paid contractors to do the work for them. Learn to “flip houses” was everywhere for a time. After seeing both of these examples everywhere, I knew the downfall of originality was at an all time low.

Why would anybody want to compete in any market that was saturated with so many people vying for attention? You would think someone would change things up and start venturing off into kitchen counters, custom spaces or even a garage renovation (not a man cave). Some of the simplest of ideas would have been far more effective than duplicating trends. It’s almost sad at this point.

The Downfall of Originality is Led by Phonies.

Over time, even the most popular of influencers shift their focus to another “passion” – AKA a new money grab. All of their followers just eat up everything they have to say; idolizing their accomplishments. These people feed off of this. Do you really want to be like that? Constantly looking for a new way to make even more? What’s so wrong with the pursuit of what suits you?

Staying PreFocused on Sensible Purpose and Value.

This reminded me of the reason why I was looking at the construction industry in the first place. I wanted to work with a general contractor that had a story worth sharing and passion worth seeing. One that was proud of the intricate details of his work and the way the team handled business with integrity. Somebody like this is easy to set a part because there’s a sense of purpose and belonging for them – and for me.

Companies that value quality fuel my business approach. There are so many go-getters out there that are essentially preying on people for profit. We live in a society that views success as duplicatable and without morals. Many of us literally idolize bad people because they have what we want. I’m honestly tired of it. It really makes no sense at all.

I’m also tired of seeing marketers or marketing agencies scam their clients with duplicate articles, landing pages and website templates. All of these things diminish SEO. This keeps their clients dependent on them to steadily improve. Constantly hiring a new agency is extremely costly – and exhausting. I talk to plenty of business owners that simply want to stop explaining and see some results. But I digress.

Overcome Doubt or Get Lost in the Shuffle.

Everybody brings something different to the table. If you’re launching a heating and cooling brand, why should people ditch their current provider? If new companies are stealing your customers, where’s your value? Originality is what separates you. Getting lost in what you think you have to do and forgetting your identity is just as costly as chasing someone else’s dreams.

Takeaways from 2 Unoriginal Examples.

At the end of the day, the voice, message and way you promote a brand needs to be original. It needs to be authentic and somehow tied to the origin story, experience, competency, characteristics or personality of the brand itself. Otherwise, there’s no purpose. Stop with the Holiday and trendy social media posts. You’re just wasting opportunity and a chance to wow someone with a first impression.

Until we really address this epidemic in society, we’re going to continue to see the downfall of originality. We’re going to continue to see people mimic empty opportunities that don’t match their true capability. There’s just too much noise. Tune it out and dial it in. Venturing off into a vulnerable state of mind gives you a chance to try new things, fail new ways, and set the market at a new pace.

So with all that being said, if you’re out flipping houses or designing interiors, dare to be different. Jump outside the box a little bit, or the box of normality, and redecorate in a new way. What if the goal is to simply save space or use up empty space? Most refuse to try something that hasn’t been done before because they only want to try what they’ve already seen success in. But there are plenty of ways to improve a living space outside of what’s on TV.

Originality for Home Service Brands.

I really wanted to put a bow tie on this podcast by talking about a few ways service companies can stand out or catch the eye of their ideal target audience. I thought it would be a good idea to start off by focusing on the pool cleaning and landscaping industries. The turnover is fairly high because competition makes it easy to recycle providers as soon as expectations aren’t met.

In most cases, these types of businesses are underbidding or undervaluing the competition in order to obtain a majority of nearby businesses (you have to consider gas prices and other cost maneuvers of the gig). But I don’t believe the lowest price is always the answer. Sure, if you’re a medioce option, this makes sense. But not if you’ve invested a lot of time and money into a quality experience.

What Do Homeowners Value From Service Companies?

So, how do you differentiate the value and get people in the nieghborhood to pay your price? Well, at the end of the day, homeowners want to pay someone they can trust. You have to think about it. There’s somebody coming to your home multiple times a month – depending on how big the property is. 

While these people clean or scape, they’re there for a while. Their visit is not like the mailman. So how come many homeowners know their FedEx guy better than the pool or landscape technician – who’s in their backyard? Information on every person that steps foot on the property would be valuable, right?

A majority of households are empty during the day or the husband is at work. This leaves the wife and kids home alone. Don’t you think the man of the house would like to know who’s there when he isn’t? Don’t you think reaching out to him to speak on this would improve your chances at a contract?

Turning Consumer Preference into a Strategy.

This is something that most people don’t even think about. But nobody wants to pay for someone that’s going to be looking through windows or watching someone swim. What if you actually promoted a message that stated you don’t hire peeping Toms and homeowners can expect a respectable experience? Now you’ve made it an elephant in the room and they might start paying attention to the service they pay for. 

Creating a memory with an original idea is what marketing is all about. When you do what everyone else is doing, it buckets the business as an option. When you really look at a majority of pool and landscape services, not many promote their people. They don’t showcase smiles, engagement or even hard work. Most don’t even consider the draw of before and after pictures! Is the service and team that bad?

If you got a good crew, whip out a cell phone and capture Jerry as he plays around with the dog while it licks him in the face. This is the type of content people want to see. It paints a picture of the experience and it doesn’t cost you a dime to post online. The simple fact you’re willing to share photos of your people communicates that you’re confident in them. This also bodes well within the culture and sets standards to be great – and themselves.

Common Strategies for Home Service are Bland.

When you spend so much time spewing information at people, you’re missing what they care most about. Sure price matters – but it’s not everything. Constantly telling homeowners you employ the faster weed whacker in the world, produce the cleanest pools, or you’re the cheapest price in town – it doesn’t prove anything. Authentic moments do.

There’s no need to contribute to the downfall of originality because you think you have to be cheap. Again, it’s the effort and passion that drives achievement. If you’re not motivated to truly clean that pool or whack those weeds, find something else! Passion makes everything easier!

Hidden Wants, Needs and Perception.

You’re not going to make a good living telling consumers how to think or feel. You have to be willing and able to target them with the content that they want and need to see. There are plenty of hidden wants and needs worth looking into. No matter the business, you have to put yourself in the customer’s point of view. 

Think of it this way, you send out a well-designed flyer that promotes fast, affordable service for $99/month. The next day, your competitor sends out an introduction letter in a hand written envelope. Inside, there’s a brochure with company pictures and action photos that says, “hoping to serve new homeowners this year”. Their service costs $129/month.

A Mindful Promotion and a Matching Experience.

Who do you think the target is going to choose? Is $29 more worth the perceived value? I think so.. This is the message I’m really trying to get across here. Originality doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Every team is different. The competence and overall culture always varies. Harness it! 

You could even do something fun or unique every time you arrive at a home. Setting up a sign to let the neighborhood know who’s working only adds to the experience. If kids need to be cautious, then take it seriously. Show you care. Anything you do in this fashion will set a part the service.

Put it All Together Before You Start Promoting.

You can prioritize your branding, update your imagery, and work on your messaging – but you have to start by focusing on the overall experience. What can you bring to the table that not only improves value but increases trust? Promoting this on a consistent basis generates an aura that’s seen and felt.

Not only will your clients appreciate it, but your team will too. In the pool and landscaping industry, there are a lot of journeymen. The gig can get uber repetitive. Being a part of something that’s bigger than the job and about the experience helps employees feel appreciated and valued themselves.

Stopping the Originality Spiral.

You do not need to mimic a prominent pool and landscape company if you’re looking to start your own business. Sure, you’ll want to know what they do well – but you’ll need to understand where they’re dropping the ball. Take this into consideration when you’re developing your identity and you’ll quickly be seen as a valuable entity. 

The goal is to provide an experience and service that people cannot get elsewhere. The downfall of originality is always down the path of duplication, Take advantage of those characteristics, skills and capabilities you’ve been given and never take them for granted. Put them into action. 

Be purposeful with everything you do guys, and always remember to PreFocus.

Let's Get Original

My vision behind PreFocus is to help people establish an identity by harnessing original ideas that support unique competency and value. I find reward in offering free advice to jumpstart your vision. Let’s schedule a chat and see how you can begin building your brand personality.