What I am about to share is not my original thinking. I gained this insight from a Vistage guest speaker, Luke Carlson.
We’re the best!...But that’s what everybody says
After listening to Luke’s presentation, I couldn’t help but think about the many times I have heard sales people and business owners say, when asked the question, “Why should I do business with you?” answer with “Because we’re the best! or “Because our product is the best!” I may have been guilty of that myself, from time to time.
Unique is you and nobody else
In Luke’s presentation, he suggested that each company leader should work with his/her leadership team and come up with three uniques for their company. He said that the exercise should be done on paper, so all ideas are captured and can be discussed. The purpose is to answer the question, “How are we unique?” Luke said that your goal is to be different, because, being the same as the competition doesn’t set your company apart.
Unique is obviously not “the same” but may be just a bit different
He also acknowledged that identifying three uniques is difficult, so, it’s OK to have two uniques the same as your competitors, but one quality must be totally unique. The exercise will cause you to think deeply about what you provide or do differently. Then the one, two or three uniques should be used in your marketing to convey why customers should want to do business with your company.
Preserve your uniqueness
Once the three uniques are identified, your goal is to preserve what makes you different. Your employees need to understand why your company is unique. Your uniqueness needs to become ingrained in your company core values and lived by everyone in your company. Your marketing messaging should always deliver your uniques and should not stray from the message. Changing your message to a different message over time will likely make your company appear to be just like the “guy down the street.” As more time passes, that changing message will erode the reasons why customers choose your company over all the others.
Replication allows competition to catch up
Once you have your uniques communicated, watch your competition. Your competitors may see that you have raised the bar and that they have fallen behind. Consequently, it may be required to adjust to the new norm you created and strive to promote or even create another unique. If your goal is to be different, then you have good reason to look at your uniques every year.
A simple task with a lot of benefit
Brainstorming about your uniques for an hour or two or even a day each year will have the significant benefit of setting your company apart. It’s easy to do and it gives you an advantage over the competition because they’re not likely to be looking for their uniques. And, that makes you unique.