Are you Defining or Embodying?
Are you defining your industry? Or are you embodying another player in it?
Here’s what I mean.
Saying you’re the Blank of Blank is embodying something. “We’re the Facebook of Auto Repair” means I have a point of reference for your pitch or idea. As a customer, I know a bit more about what you do. Even if not completely accurate, I can make some assumptions, and we’re that much farther along toward a working relationship.
Now, when you embody a company in another field, make sure that comparison is favorable. Don’t be “The Enron of Ice Cream.”
But, if you are bold enough and willing to break the mold, you can define an industry. Before Facebook, there wasn’t much in the social networking space. Sure, they could have said they were “The MySpace of College Students” but why? What was MySpace? “The Friendster for Second Adopters?” It was still very early in the game and the field was ripe for definition.
Very quickly, it didn’t matter. Facebook defined the category and became enough of a behemoth to birth a series of embodiers.
Build what you want, and as you do, have as your goal a category- or industry-defining moment. Until then, embody like crazy, baby! People will catch on and then crown you as unique as you wanna be.