Lessons in being unique, from YouTube

Stand out from the crowd, with the Ghostbusters, the Marx Brothers and the Young Ones.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

When it comes to cornering a market, nobody did it better than the Ghostbusters. Indeed, whenever there was something strange in the neighbourhood, and particularly when it didn’t look good, they were so firmly established as the go-to guys that the question ‘Who you gonna call?’ became purely rhetorical. 

While it’s wise to be aware of your rivals, your focus should remain very much on your own offering. Worry about doing what you do as well as you can. As the Marx Brothers show, if you watch your rivals too closely, chances are you’ll end up just like them.

A simple way to appear unique lies in how you talk to your customers. Look at the casual tone employed by Pret a Manger or Innocent drinks, companies that address their punters as personal friends. But the tone has to be right for business. The Young Ones’ Neil perhaps goes too far with this letter to his bank manager.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Reopening: Your duty is not to the economy, it’s to your staff

Managers are on shaky ground if they think they can decide for people what constitutes...

How COVID changes the world forever: A thought experiment

Silicon Valley ‘oracle’ Tim O’Reilly imagines how different sectors could emerge from the pandemic.

The CEO's guide to switching off

Too much hard work is counterproductive. Here four leaders share how they ease the pressure....

What Lego robots can teach us about motivating teams

People crave meaningful work, yet managers can so easily make it all seem futile.

What went wrong at Debenhams?

There are lessons in the high street store's sorry story.

How to find the right mentor or executive coach

One minute briefing: McDonald’s UK CEO Paul Pomroy.