What Sherlock Holmes Teaches Thought Leaders About Uniqueness

Watching the BBC’s brilliant TV series Sherlock (set in contemporary London for a change) has caused me to reflect on the many advantages of being Sherlock Holmes.

Having someone you can count on, like Watson.

That prestigious London address.

Being the world’s first consulting detective.

How many of us can be the world’s first anything these days?

But even if we authors can’t always be unique, we do need to be able to communicate what is special about our books.

If you plan to self-publish, particularly, it helps enormously with your marketing and promotion efforts if you can clearly articulate what’s so special about your book that it warrants the reader spending money on it as opposed to some other title.

Here’s one way to identify your unique take on your book’s topic.

In Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries From The Rest Of Us, Erik Calonius talks about how visionary individuals are able to awaken to a higher level of thinking. He uses the example of the 1960s ads for Lady Clairol to illustrate this.

When you think simply about what Clairol is, chances are you’d respond “hair dye.” Not much uniqueness there.

When you consider what the product does, you might say, “it lightens hair.” But, then, so does all its competitors.

The “higher thought” that the Lady Clairol advertising team came up with back in the 60s–which is no different to what they try to do today–required eliciting an emotional reaction from potential purchasers.

Hence the slogan: “Is it true that blondes have more fun?”

Thinking At The Next LevelĀ 

By raising their thinking to the next level, the advertisers were able to articulate the emotional hook that enticed women away from all those other brands that were marketing themselves just as “hair dyes”.

Try this three step process for yourself, in relation to your book:

1. Your book is about what?
2. Which means what?
3. And finally, moving more in the realm of emotions: what does that mean?

I’d be interested to hear where that thinking leads you, so please leave a comment below.

Oh, and do check out Sherlock on DVD…it’s bloody marvelous television as only the BBC can do!


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