We love Differentiation! When done well, differentiation is a pleasure to experience. Let us share a story of a venue we frequent because of a unique experience that keeps us coming back. This particular differentiation strategy unfolds most evenings at West, a local Vancouver restaurant. It’s not the restaurant itself that stands out as much as the entertainment behind the bar.

Although it is an outstanding dining establishment by any measure, the memorable experience comes from the bartenders, David and David. These two are masters of their trade. Of course, they can prepare your standard cocktails with flair, but given the chance to surprise you, they will take you on an engaging visit to the 1830s, the roaring 20s, or any era that suits your mood, your tastes and your personality.

If you’re interested, they will guide you through every step of the cocktail mixing experience, with lessons on the history of the spirits they are using, and the evolution of the drink itself. The banter between them and the entire experience is highly entertaining, educational and memorable.

It is a very well differentiated bartending strategy and it is successful for the following reasons:

  1. It is founded on their obvious passion for their trade.
  2. David and David are continuously driven to improve and master their skills. They are sincere and consistent in their execution.
  3. It is targeted to a specific group of potential patrons who value mastery, excellence and an unparallel experience.
  4. David and David are not bartenders; they are artisans delivering an experience well, not just slinging designer spirits and the latest trendy cocktails.  They set themselves apart from others in their trade and, as such, do not compete on the same terms.
  5. The experience delivers value, so they don't compete on price.

By differentiating your business, you give it more meaning and focus.  Identify your unique position and/or product in the marketplace and let it guide your strategic direction so you’ll know where to focus. Outline specific objectives to realize your long-term strategy and set tangible, results-oriented actions to keep you on track.

- Michèle and Brian