Being different is difficult. It goes against the norms of being, well, normal! Being different makes you stand out and it can be a gamble, so most people play it safe taking the road most travelled just in case being different turns out to be a huge blunder. This is true for companies too.
In our industry, marine software has a perception of being useful, but also complicated. Engagements with software companies can be equally as complex and/or frustrating. But at Helm, we’re different. We try to go against these norms because we think these norms kind of suck.
Software really shouldn’t be hard to learn or hard to use. The goal of implementing software at your company is to make your life and the lives of your people better, not worse. But it’s far easier for software companies to make feature-driven, complicated software than it is for them to make it simple and intuitive. This is where we’ve decided to be different. And even though it takes longer to develop our software and requires much more work it really pays off. We see it over and over again, through our prospects’ reactions when they come in for demos with us. They assume they’re getting the usual “software demo,” only to be pleasantly surprised when they see how easily our system manages their maintenance.
Our software is a great reflection of us and how we think, which is a little different. Our latest example was at the last two maritime trade shows we exhibited at. As most people know, trade shows can be kind of repetitive and dull. Picture vendors sitting behind booths possibly offering old Halloween candy or stress balls or key chains to encourage you to come have a conversation with them.
We wanted to take a leap, be different, and change people’s perspectives of what a tradeshow interaction could look like – especially one with a maritime software company.
Enter the road never travelled: Sock Giveaway!
We thought the best way to get chatting with people would be to offer them something cool, fun, and that was applicable to everyone. So we branded some socks and decided to offer them to anyone that was willing to play a quick game in our software. But the risk was that no one we knew or spoke to had ever done this before.
It was a huge success! With our fun, enticing sock prize and a quick game to engage with us, we were able to demonstrate our software to over 25% of the show’s attendees, many of who were actual prospects for our software.
And I had actually quite a few of those attendees either email me or call me to ask where we got our socks made because they wanted to make some with their own logo!
Being different can be scary. When you break out of your own norms and the norms of how business is “supposed to” be conducted, you’re taking a leap. For us at Helm, we know we’re not like all the other software companies because we are different, and we’re proud to showcase it because it’s what our customers love about us, what our employees love about working here, and what we love about our company and software.