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What You Can Learn About Branding From 'Project Runway'

Posted by Carol Tice | August 10, 2012
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/224170

In every industry, there are businesses that stand out above the crowd. Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle used its showy fish-wrapping style to turn itself into a tourist attraction. Standing out from the crowd can turn your business into a cash machine.

If you don't try to make your business stand out, you could end up lost in a sea of similar business types, without an obvious angle that makes you unique.

A recent episode of the new season of Project Runway provided a reminder of how important it is to stand out, and to go beyond what's expected.

In the "materials challenge" -- the designers are asked to make clothes out of something unusual. This time, it was candy from Dylan's Candy Bar in New York (not-coincidentally a company founded by a daughter of Ralph Lauren).

 

Related: Cupcake Wars, Cupcake Champions and the Magic of Brand Extensions

As you can imagine, results were mixed. Some designers had licorice peeling off their dresses and falling on the floor. Some creations were just plain ugly.

Then came a dress by contestant Ven Budhu. An award-winning Fashion Institute of Technology grad, Budhu saw the challenge not as something to survive, but as a chance to wow the judges (and the world) with something amazing.

Related: How to Stand Out Among Bigger Brands on Google

He crushed rock candy to create a stained-glass effect and created a divine short dress that looked like a piece of fine art, worthy of a museum.It was a career-making move, and he won the week's challenge. He also cemented a reputation as one of the most creative evening-gown designers around. Don't be surprised if Michelle Obama shows up in one of his dresses.

What allows an entrepreneur to take their business to the next level? It starts with confidence, and knowing who you are what your brand stands for.

Related: What 'Project Runway' Can Teach You About Business

In interviews, Budhu stated simply that he has always wanted to design couture, and that he knows his niche is evening gowns, and that he's good at it.

Then, he went out and proved it. All eyes will be on him for the rest of this season to see if he can keep exceeding expectations. But whatever happens, that stained-glass dress will be a calling card for him for years to come. He's got a thing that sets him apart and makes him unique.

What have you done to make your business stand out? Leave a comment and tell us how you're unique.