By Marcella Frati, Chairman Of MarcellaFrati Communications and Director of NMG Italy

As I sit down to write about “Standing out from the crowd” there are at least 10,000 people around the world who are talking about this concept. I just Googled “stand out from the crowd” and got something like 18,000 hits. All around the world people are trying to “stand out from the crowd”, or trying to do anything which can defined as “making a difference.”

Everybody can talk about standing out from the crowd, but how many people out there are really doing this? And how many of them are getting anything out of it?

The key is to define where you want to make a difference. Standing out from the crowd is a tool that allows you to compete in a distinctive way to be successful; either you are navigating in a “red ocean” or in a “blue ocean” and life is much more difficult in a red ocean (I really liked the book Blue Ocean Strategy...).

But there are several ways to do so.

I particularly like the concept “stand out by building your brand” and that is what I personally did. In many parts of the world, at this moment, people are learning how to develop personal brands, based on the view that to thrive in this new enviroment you must identify your personal assets and clearly communicate your unique promise of value.

Personal brand is surely one the most effective and innovative strategies you can use to achieve professional success and fulfillment.

I am a good example of how the “brand called me” brought success.

A few years ago, after twelve years of twelve hour days (often week-ends included) working for an Italian company, I was laid off. In need of a new job, I saw no obvious job opportunities. So I created my own opportunity; I stuck my neck out and I took the chance of starting my own business.

I flew to Australia and presented the product called “Marcella Frati” to a multi-national consultancy with no presence in Continental Europe (I liked the idea of being involved in some way in the New World of financial services). Very quickly we set up the Italian operation in a j-v and we decided to use their Australian brand. As soon as I started presenting my new company to Italian prospects, I realised that the Australian brand was not of any help and I also realised that the only way to survive and grow was to sell the brand called Marcella Frati.

Since then I started thinking of myself as a brand. First, I invested in consistency; consistency of my personal style with everything I said or made. I tried to do everything (even starting with my office address) to make myself unique.

A couple of years ago I decided that was a good time to extend the consultancy business into publishing (business books and a specialised magazine, Simplybiz). Despite the well known crisis in that industry, I set up my own publishing company, but this time by using my own name: MarcellaFrati Communications. The company is now doing amazingly well; despite despite...

Here is my point: I learnt under duress, when I reinvented my professional life, that the only winning thing is my name, my face.

Stand out, believe in your personality in your visibility in your credibility. They are the only things which really matter to drive demand for your services and products. They are the only things that really make you different.

I recently asked John Grinder (one of the two founders of NLP): how can I be like Oprah? He answered “what does she have that you don’t!

Marcella is Chairman of MarcellaFrati Communications and director of NMG Italy. She is well known in the financial services market for her expertise in financial services distribution, but mainly for her capabilities as a catalyst and as a networker. She created and organises (twice a year) Leadership Forum, Italy’s premier mortgage event with more than 1,000 participants. Her book “The Secret of Success for Financial Advisors” became one the best business books at Hoepli in 2010. In 2009 Marcella launched her magazine Simplybiz, the first magazine for mortgage professionals, where she has her own column “Simplybiz Life” (dedicated to business life). She studied at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano, worked abroad in the US and in Scotland and holds a strategic marketing master from Booth GSB of Chicago marcella.frati@simplybiz.it

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