Standing out from the competition is something all businesses strive for because they need to be able to show why customers should use their products and services over and above the other companies within their industry or market.
However, there are few businesses who manage to create a differentiator that is powerful enough to help them stand out. In this article, I will explain how you can do exactly that.
A differentiator is a clear statement which positions the business away from the competition to the benefit of its
customers and prospects. It’s what really makes you ‘stand out from the crowd’.
In many cases, it’s what makes the difference between a very successful business and one that struggles to reach its full potential!
Your differentiator can often be found in your business – you just need to identify it and articulate it in a way which makes your business stand out.
How can you expect your prospects or customers to choose your business over and above any of the competition, if they can't quickly see what it is the business does which is so unique and so beneficial to them?
A key point to note is that you differentiator is not about what you do.
It’s about what you can do for your customers.
Find out what your customers want and then give it to them in a simple and easy-to understand statement.
For example, this is a classic story that dates back to 1920s America…At that time there was an unsuccessful beer company called Schlitz Beer lying a lowly eighth in their market. They went to number 1 in six short months...how? By using a differentiator!
Here’s what happened…
At this time there were eight or nine different brewing companies aggressively competing for the same market.
Everyone was communicating the same message that their beer was the purest. They didn’t explain what pure meant to the beer drinker, they just kept saying that it was pure, pure, pure.
Unfortunately for Schlitz, they were losing ground.
Luckily for them they were introduced to Claude Hopkins – one of the true legends of marketing. Many
of his strategies continue to stand the test of time.
Claude asked to be taken around their manufacturing plant. Like all good marketing people, he wanted as much
background information as possible.
As he was being shown around the Schlitz plant, he was amazed at how they made their beer.
First and foremost, their facilities were right at the base of Lake Michigan. Back in the early twenties this water
was very pure. Despite this, Schlitz sunk two 5,000-feet deep artesian wells on the shores because they had to
go deep enough to find the right combination of water with the mineral content to make the best possible beer.
They explained how they went through 1623 different tests and experiments over five years to identify the finest mother yeast cell that could produce the richest taste and flavour. They showed him the intricate process of distillation of the water where it was heated to 5,000 degrees F, and then cooled down and condensed.
They carried out this process three times to ensure the water was absolutely purified.
They talked about the bottling process where they steamed each bottle at temperatures of 1600 degrees F to kill all bacteria. They finished by telling Claude they tasted every batch to make sure it was pure and rich before they would even bottle it and send it out the door.
Claude was staggered. The lengths Schlitz went to, to purify their beer was amazing. He said to them, “Why
don’t you tell people this story?” They replied by saying, “Everybody goes through this process, it’s not
unique – it’s what must be done to ensure the beer is so pure.”
Claude replied by saying, “No one knows about this. The first person who tells this story will gain distinction
and pre-eminence in the market-place from then on.” Schlitz was the first and only beer company that ever
told the story of how their beer was formed. It made the word “pure” take on a totally different meaning in the
eyes of their prospects and customers.
The impact was instant. A rise to number 1 from number 8 in just six short months.
That’s the power of an effective differentiator!
However, there are other factors to consider…
If you are viewed by your customers and prospects to be the same as the competition, what do you think becomes the important criterion when customers want your product or service?
Yes – price!
There’s no hiding the fact that as soon as you create an effective differentiator for the business, you automatically take the business out of the ‘price war’ and into the nirvana of higher prices/fees – and less competition! Or worst case, the same price but the ability to win more custom.
That’s the power of a differentiator.
If I asked you the following question, what would be your answer?
“What’s the one unique thing you offer that makes your prospects think – ‘Wow, I must have this product or service’?”
If you’re like most people we meet and work with, your answer right now will be, at best, very vague. Few people take the time to articulate what it is they do that is so unique and special for the client or customer.
If you can’t accurately describe this uniqueness to your prospects, what chance have they got to find out what
you offer – over and above the competition?
If the prospect can immediately see what it is you do that is so unique and they find it irresistible – you’ve created the perfect differentiator.
A differentiator really is one of the most powerful concepts you can apply to your business and the good news is that it can be created relatively quickly and easily.
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