OK, I’m not exactly conventional. So every so often a well-meaning advisor will say, “You describe yourself as a maverick. Why not build your brand on that?”
Here’s why that is a very bad idea. But before I start, I know you’re going to tell me that some very successful people called (and still call) themselves renegades.
Well, I would say they succeeded in spite of the name they chose. They’re not renegades; they’re pack leaders. They just want to think of themselves as lone ranger super-heroes.
Reason #1 – Real mavericks don’t know they’re mavericks. They are surprised when someone says, “You’re different.”
Pseudo-mavericks love being called mavericks. An online quiz invites you to summarize yourself in one word. I suspect a large number of those who take this quiz will end up as mavericks. In fact, someone wrote an article that introduced the quiz with, “I got Maverick. What’s yours?”
Once I was telling a friend, “I don’t know how they could tell I’m a maverick.”
My friend said, “I knew you were a renegade five minutes after we met.”
Here’s one way to tell. Fake mavericks brag about breaking the rules. Real mavericks won’t realize they’re breaking the rules. They’re just being true to themselves.
Reason #2: Real mavericks don’t have to tell you they’re maverick. You know … even if you are a maverick yourself.
See reason #1 above.
Reason #3: There’s no special reason to hire someone because they’re a maverick or renegade. Some mavericks are creatives who can help you think outside the box. Some are just different (and not always in a good way). Brand on your client’s benefits, not your weirdness.
This reason also applies when someone tells you to brand based on your curly hair. Yes, it happens.
Reason #4: Lots of people call themselves mavericks. You’ll be one of a pack of … mavericks. Why would you want to do that?
Here’s a funny thing. The word “renegade” has been embraced by successful companies, such as This Renegade Love (which seems to celebrate people doing things well). In the automotive world, you’ll find a Jeep Renegade.
Dan Kennedy used to describe himself as “The Renegade Millionaire.” In the original sales letter, he wrote, “Who else wants to defy all normal, common, ordinary, customary boundaries on making money — on the speed, the ease and the independence?” Does that really sound radical to a business owner?
The real definition of renegade isn’t so positive. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary shares this definition of renegade:
: a deserter from one faith, cause, or allegiance to another
: an individual who rejects lawful or conventional behavior
Reason #5: Lots of people think they’re renegades and mavericks even if they’ve thrived in the corporate world, served with distinction in the military, or fit into a suburban setting with ease. They will feel they own the right to call themselves mavericks and will resent your claiming the title for yourself.
Finally, real mavericks don’t particularly feel pride in their offbeat status. They want to blend in with the crowd. They know they’re … different. In their next life they want to be boring. Well, not that boring…
So what can you do instead?
When you’re a service-based business, your best branding strategy reflects your story archetype (sometimes known as your persona or pattern). You’re aligned with a message that doesn’t just communicate a personal quality. You stand out because of the way you work with clients and you attract clients who will like the way you work. No need to spell out your differences. Your prospects will sense them immediately; that’s why they’re drawn to you in the first place.
You can learn more when you download this free workbook From Story To Standout Brand.
And if you’d like to find your own story archetype, let’s get together for a 90-minute Story Consultation. One client said, “I’ve been to two branding consultants — and this is the first time I understand what my brand should be.” You’ll save many hours of digging into your message and feel confident you’re on track when you sit down to write the copy. And most likely your marketing will never be the same.