Business differentiation is rarely done well. Not because it’s so difficult, but because it is strategically misunderstood.
Most people are surprised by this. Counter to what they believe (and this usually comes from having formally studied marketing), successful business differentiation is not about focusing on being different. Although an outcome is that the business is obviously unique in some specific way, being unique or different is not the primary driver in a well-executed differentiation strategy.
And here’s why: Being different is not valuable.
A fork with five tines is different from, but no more valuable than, a standard fork with 4 tines. There is nothing intrinsically valuable about something being different. It is just a state of being.
So, if business differentiation is not about highlighting what makes your offer different, then what is it really about?
Business owners who understand the key drivers behind successful differentiation have a distinct advantage over their competition because they have learned the rules of the game. They actually play differently.
They understand that effective business differentiation is always intensely focused on building an offer that is attractive to, and easily identifiable by a clearly defined tribe of people.
Here’s the thing about people. We almost always notice when something is different, but if that’s all it has going for it, our interest is fleeting. It is not sticky. We move on very quickly and seek out the next “thing” that is different. Our attention is virtually impossible to harness.
However, our emotions are different. When they are well-cared for, they tend to be loyal. So, when your offer of value matches the needs, expectations and desires of a group of people, and continues to fulfill them over time, those people grow into a tribe of loyal, gushing, committed fans. In their eyes, your business is ‘different’ and they have no eyes for your competition.
Successful business differentiation is a long game. It is achieved by implementing a well thought-out, enduring business strategy that is grounded in values, driven by purpose, and inspired by vision.
There are 4 key themes that will support you to build out a robust differentiation strategy.
These are the 4 Ps of Strategic Differentiation:
1) Platform: Confidently communicate your promises, beliefs, and principles.
2) Process: Establish a defined methodology, and employ systems to deliver consistently.
3) Personality: Bring life into your business. Give it a human essence.
4) Purpose: Align your business with a bigger intention, one that serves the greater good.
This is why I bring a coaching approach to developing your business differentiation strategy. As the founder and leader of your business, you are the best possible person to leverage the unique nuances of your offer and build something that is valuable and attractive to a specific tribe of people. No one else can do that for you.
When you are coached through a structured discovery process that allows you to access your unique opportunities and to identify how to leverage them, there is very little that can get in your way.
From that point forth, it’s only a matter of staying true to the core tenets of your offer and allowing the fulness of time to deliver the rewards.
If you could finally make strategically inspired decisions that grow your results, your sense of fulfillment and your ability to make a lasting difference, what might be different for you?
If you’d like to learn about how one of our clients has successfully achieved strategic differentiation in his business, click here.
And if you're ready to create a truly enduring differentiation strategy for your business, reach out to me, directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
To your success, differently!