So, I’m a bit of an addict when it comes to the TV show, “Shark Tank.” I know, some of you may be rolling your eyes and exclaiming, “oh, brother.” But, besides the cheap thrills that you might get from watching reality TV shows, I really enjoy analyzing the language the Sharks use when they are dissecting each entrepreneur.

One phrase that you hear time and time again on this show is, “how does this differentiate you from the others?”

Bingo. The Sharks are ready to feast on their prey. What do they actually mean when they say this?

Some entrepreneurs are quick to counter and they know exactly what the Sharks want to hear but others fail to hide their fears and misunderstand what is actually being asked. This is definitely a key moment that can make or break a deal.

When I work with clients, I like to ask them the same thing. I take my time to get to know each business by talking to them (a lot) and I enjoy hearing their stories about how their brands came to be. I’m not as intimidating as Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank, but I usually ask them, “I want to know what you think is ‘YOU-nique,’ about your business. Tell me what makes your brand YOU and not THEM.”

A strong brand has a clear personality, a culture, something that comes from the heart. It has to exude your passions and what you stand for. You need to stay ahead of your competition with your own secret sauce and customers need to know that story. It really needs to resonate with them to get them in your door.

Our job as marketers is to help share the brands’ stories and really flaunt that secret sauce.    

So, tell me. Does your brand have a secret sauce?