The X factor… Do you have it and do you need it to be the right fit?


Have you ever noticed how so many top brands end in “X”? Here are just a few: Windex, Kleenex , Fed-Ex , Xerox and Botox

Maybe it is a coincidence, but each of the above happens to be not just a leading product name, but the default term most people use when referring to the item – regardless of actual brand being discussed. While trademarks and patents usually prevent competitor companies for using rivals’ brand names in their marketing, the general public still tends to cling to the most recognizable label during routine conversation. For example when was the last time you heard someone say any of the following?

Referring to glass or surface cleaner – I just Glass Plus – ed my windows, coffee table and bathroom mirror.

Requesting or offering a facial tissue – May I have or would you like a Puffs?

Using a package shipping service – Did you DHL Aunt Lucy’s b-day gift to Cleveland?

Discussing photocopies – I need 100 Canon copies of my presentation by 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Describing wrinkle eliminating injections – Couldn’t Nicole Kidman’s or Sandra Bullock’s foreheads use an onabotulinumtoxina break?

The point here isn’t about which product is superior. Most likely, any of the above secondary products or various other equivalents on the market would get the job done in practically the same way as the better known version. It really comes down to differentiation, reputation and perception.

So, what does this have to do with you and your job search? The established “X” factor brands need to defend their market position and the public’s belief that they are the standard or the best of the best. While the up and comers, need to convince consumers that they are just as good, if not better than the competition. It is an ongoing branding battle – just like trying to stand out in a crowded and competitive job market.

We constantly hear about the “it” or “fit” factor. As in: “I just don’t think he/she has ‘it’.” Or: “So far no one is the right ‘fit’.” What that usually means is something intangible and indescribable is missing from the ingredients. Perhaps it’s like having a preference for the fragrance of Windex versus Glass Plus. Or, thinking Fed-Ex has a fresher looking truck logo compared to the stodgy DHL vehicles.

Putting this into human terms, how many of us would rather be viewed as the Kleenex of our industry or field, in contrast to Puffs? Even without a catchy name ending in “X,” professionals should keep in mind how various products and services are marketed to achieve and maintain their standing in the community. Much of what creates a memorable and positive image is how the desirable qualities, features and solutions offered, remain in focus and customized to the target audience.

Article by Kelly Blokdjik of TalentTalks
TalentTalks partners with job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies and compelling professional branding materials to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative and customized human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs.

TalentTalks routinely posts job market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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