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Being “Different” is Good (in business, anyway)
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For most of our lives, we’ve been taught that being too different is a bad thing. Luckily for all of the innovators and the people with unique new business ideas, being different can be a good thing; maybe even the best thing!

In business, “different” is important enough that we spend hours of our time (and gallons of ink) telling clients exactly what separates us from our competition. We even have a word for the things that make us different—differentiators. Getting a firm grasp on your differentiators and figuring out how you want to talk to your customers about them are top items for your to-do list.

If your differentiator is “we’re the cheapest” (and you actually do always have the lowest prices) then you don’t really need to say anything else. If you don’t want to be seen as the lowest-priced option, then you need to come up with something else. Most companies should develop at least a couple of very strong differentiators for their business.

Let’s start with a couple of pointers of what you shouldn’t say:

  1. The same things that everyone else says. Don’t tell prospective clients that you “care about your clients”, that you “do quality work” or that you “have great people” because they’ve heard all of those cliches before and nearly everyone in every type of business says exactly those things.
  2. Something too technical. Don’t draw fine technical distinctions that your prospective clients can’t see or don’t understand because they still won’t be able to tell (or won’t care) how you’re different from the competition.

So what should you say? There’s a nearly infinite variety of ways to point out your interesting differences—differentiators that actually mean something to clients. Here are some examples that you might consider:

  • Specialize in offering a particular service
  • Offer a truly unique technology or process
  • Focus on understanding a particular target audience
  • All of your staff shares a specific characteristic or credential
  • Specialize in clients that share a common characteristic
  • Focus on solving a specific challenge
  • Offer access to unique information not available everywhere
  • Offer a unique set of contacts
  • Do business with a distinctive level of service
  • Look or act differently than all of your competitors

And remember; the effect of the areas you choose to differentiate yourself will ripple through your entire brand image and marketing strategy—your target demographic, the services you offer and your value proposition/market positioning.

Your differentiators are important.


Charles Luna

Gnu 2 Marketing

Powerful Marketing & Branding

303.437.8950

www.Gnu2Marketing.com

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