For companies with a small marketing budget and very little awareness outside of their small circle of influence, it can be a difficult journey to win business and grow popularity on a massive scale.  Instead of trying to mainstream your product and message to appeal to a mass audience, some truly bold and disruptive brands experience great success by bucking the norm.

Being a unique, outlier brand can help you win the business of those who are tired of the same old stuff and are looking for a brand that speaks directly to them.  Sure, losing the mass appeal may limit the size of your prospect pool, but being outside the mainstream can also lead to an extremely loyal following of customers.

Here are 4 ways to evolve your brand into a bold brand:

1. Stick Out Like a Sore Thumb.  Don’t let your product look like the others in your category.  Customers judge your book by the cover, and you want your “cover” to be completely different than anything they see.  Create packaging that is different than a standard 4-sided box, make your bottle bigger and bolder, and so on.

Do you sell a service?  The same philosophy applies.  The first interaction with a prospect should catch them off-guard.  Everything about your process should be different and unique.  Mandate that the first 10 minutes of your meeting must be spent getting to know each other personally.  Bring a special treat or gift to the first sales meeting.  Conduct meetings in a unique location.  All these approaches will immediately let your prospects know that you are different.

2. Own It – Carry the Attitude.  Believe in the reason why you are different and don’t apologize for it.  Do not be a chameleon company that tries to change colors for every type of customer out there.  Wear your boldness like a badge of honor.

Take one of the most innovative brands of our time, Apple.  They were going to do everything differently, and they never once apologized for that.  Sure, your approach may rub a few people the wrong way – but those customers are the least likely to stay loyal to your business anyways.

3. Team Up.  Find other, similar brands that share your bold attitude.  Chances are, they have customers that would be perfect for your brand.  Joining forces will help you gain a new loyal following and present many opportunities for joint promotion.  These companies could even be your competitors.

Take a local food truck business for example.  They aligned with other food trucks to create a “food court” outside major office complexes.  Independently, they were not able to create enough of a buzz to break workers from their typical lunch routine.  However, when they saw a huge collection of food trucks – all specializing in a different cuisine – they collectively shook up the routine and gained a massive business rush.

4. Throw Some Punches. Find your major competitors and pick a bit of a fight.  Explain to your customers why you don’t settle for your competitor’s standard of mediocrity.  Create branded giveaways or messaging that uses humor to draw attention to the distinct differences.  Picking a fight causes customers to take sides, and increases their loyalty.

More importantly, when it comes to choosing sides, it is natural for consumers to shy away from the boring or vanilla brand.  They yearn to be associated with the cool, new kids on the block.