Most of us want predictability in our lives.

Your prospects surely do.

But predictability can quickly ruin your brand.

Understanding this master-level concept can add so much sizzle to your brand that people won’t be able to get you off their mind. Let’s take a closer look.

Fill in the blanks below.

Actions speak louder than __________.

Don’t put your ______ all in one basket.

Hit the _____ on the head.

Pretty easy, weren’t they. So easy, you could have done it blindfolded. You hardly needed to think.

While this predictability is good in everyday life, it’s not good for your brand.

If your brand doesn’t do something un-predictable, your prospects will figure that they already know what you’re going to say and do. They’ll stop paying attention.

At best, you might get a quick glance. But most likely, they’ll keep moving on without giving you another thought. And suddenly, your message and your brand – – are dead.

Create an element of surprise

People are looking for something new and different. They want to be surprised.  And when they see it and feel it, they become curious and they’ll want more. Because nobody has made them feel the way you do.

How do you do this?

Start with one

Stop trying to follow the same boring outline as everyone else who does what you do. You say you want to stand out, but you spend so much time trying to blend in.

Revisit the way you get your brand message out there and the opportunities you have to make an impact at each touchpoint. Explore ways to layer your personality and brand attributes on top on everything you do.

Pick one thing.

If you’re a non-profit planning a fund-raiser, don’t look to everyone else. Ask yourself what can you do to make your event different? If everybody in your niche has formal galas, what might it look like to do something fun and adventurous?

Maybe you’re a start-up entrepreneur getting ready to launch, and you need to build a following? Explore ideas that will connect you with your prospects in an unexpected way.

You might be a personal chef hoping to book more private parties and events. Look at your audience, and make a list of ideas that would add an element of delight to their time with you.

Set aside some time to brainstorm. Create a list of informal thoughts and ideas. Imagine all your possibilities.

A dinner can leave them captivated

I have the exact same challenge to stand out in the marketplace as you do. I always ask myself, “What can I do to make this distinct and memorable?” My goal is to leave people so full of delight that they share my story . . . over and again.

Often I have clients over for a home cooked dinner. Sitting around the table, sharing wine, food and good conversation makes a pretty enchanting evening. But I had to ask, how can I layer an element of surprise over it?

On this summer evening, it unfolded like this.

A group of 6 were looking forward to a rooftop dinner on my houseboat. I asked them to bring a sweater because it can get chilly on the water on a summer evening. Knowing they were boaters, I also asked them to each bring a life jacket. There was no further explanation.

They arrived full of curiosity carrying their life jackets. Instead of taking them up to the rooftop, I whisked them off to a floating dinner dock. Rustic yes, but add linens and candlelight and it becomes magical. And unpredictable! Full of surprise, they boarded, got cozy around the table and were full of awe and delight as I powered up the small engine, un-hitched us, and set out for an intimate dinner cruise around the lake.

Lake Union Dinner Dock

As we toodled around Lake Union, we sipped on wine and enjoyed our salmon dinner with the city lights sparkling behind us.  Laughing, sharing stories, and building relationships.  A night we will never forget. These friends had been on every kind of boat, but never a rustic little floating dinner dock like this.

How can you take something and make it unpredictable?

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