Haven’t you always wanted to leave your competition in the dust? To keep an eye on them, but not really care what they are doing because your brand is so wildly successful? This doesn’t have to be a fantasy: Start thinking and designing on a vertical plane instead of a horizontal one.

shifty eyes = loss of vision

When you are constantly looking to the sides to see what everyone else is doing, it’s much harder to focus on growing your brand. Forget about incremental improvements to match the masses and even cost-cutting for a time. Don’t try to see how little you can get away with when it comes to your team, your supply chain, your packaging; instead, go for the most you can afford. Invest in your brand. And enjoy it! Things get way too serious way too quickly. When the fun and enjoyment disappears from your work, so does the spark and magic of your brand.

I’m forever fascinated by the brand owners and experts out there, whose stories we get to share and whose advice encourages others to stop behaving like drones. They don’t worry about fitting the mold: Their ideas are new. They get excited about out-there concepts and actually use them at shelf. They know a move will appear crazy to the world at first, but they do it anyway. They have a concentrated mission, and they have a great time working toward it. All that adds up to a unique brand that has no trouble attracting and keeping fans.

see you at the top

Once you stop following the crowd’s actions, and begin functioning in a way only your brand can, you are well on your way to asking, “What competitors?”