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The Competition Your Great Ideas Face

You may have the greatest idea in the world for a book, movie, business, or nonprofit. But when writing my book Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media, I discovered that today, living in the most cluttered culture in history, you also have to consider how to cut through all the competition and get noticed. Want to publish a book? In 2011, 300,000 books were published by traditional publishers, and that doesn’t count the additional 3 million that were self-published.

How about producing a feature film? During the same period, 1,000 movies were released in the United States.

Maybe you could start with a YouTube video? According to their own statistics, 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

Television isn’t any better. The average cable TV system in America now has 160 channels, with some satellite systems boasting as many as 500 channels.

What about a great business idea? The U.S. government’s own statistics reveal that in spite of today’s tough economy, 500,000 businesses were opened in 2011, all competing for the same investor money.

Okay, so how about a nonprofit? In 2011 alone, 1.6 million nonprofits were registered with the IRS.

Whatever good this abundance brings to the world, it also brings confusion and clutter for people who are trying to make sense of it all – and people with a new idea. Think of the challenge your brain faces, acting like a filter to help you sort through the growing flood of information that surrounds you every day.

Branding consultant Marty Neumeier calls today’s cultureinformation-rich and time-poor. In this environment, we need easy ways to help us get to the real information we need to make decisions about life. To the potential viewer, supporter or customer, it’s ultimately about a person, church or organization’s identity—helping people understand who they are and what they mean to a person’s life.

It’s about the story that surrounds who you are—a story that creates focus for your ministry . In short, it’s about your “brand.” The first question you need to ask is about your perception:  What do people think of when they think of you?

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Phil Cooke is the founder and CEO of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles (CookeMediaGroup.com) where his team helps church, ministry, and nonprofit organizations engage the culture more effectively through media. He's a filmmaker, media consultant, and author of "Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media."