Do you want to beat your competition? Do you really want to be the winner in your market?
Then you need to be clear on why people should choose you rather than the others.
Typical answers to the question “why should I choose you over your competitors?” are things such as:
- “We are better”
- “We have better customer service”
- “We have better quality products”
These kinds of answers just aren’t going to cut it. Better according to who? According to what standards? Of course we should always aim to give our customer the best we can, within the confines of our positioning in the market. If we are going to be the cheapest, we are not going to provide luxury quality, but we can aim to provide the best quality within our affordable price range. But there is a fundamental flaw in choosing “better” as the main reason for choosing you over the competition. First of all, there are no universal standards as to what is considered good, better or best, it is all relative and it is all in the eye of the beholder. Secondly, these kinds of things can be imitated. If you are doing or providing something better than the competition, they can study you and copy what you are doing. They may not always succeed, but they will definitely try, and may very well succeed. So whilst I am not saying you should not aim to be the best at what you do (you should!) I am simply saying, that it is extremely unlikely that this is enough and you need more.
So why should people choose you over your competitors?
Because you are different.
You need to be different in a way that appeals to people.
There is a very well known book by marketing guru Seth Godin called Purple Cow. In it he talks about driving along a road and seeing a purple cow. You’re definitely going to notice it. What’s more, you’re going to talk about it. You’re going to tell everyone about it. You’re probably going to get out of that car and take a picture and you’re going to post it on Facebook and Instagram. You could even blog about it! Bottom line is, when you see a purple cow, you will definitely notice it and have an opinion about it. How does this purple cow make you feel? Do you like it? Do you not like it? Is it weird? Is it funny? It’s different, it is remarkable, it is either something you like or you don’t. And you need to do that; you need to find your way to be different.
Be different in a way that matters and be brave about it! Take it all the way; don’t just sort of put a decorative banner somewhere that says “ OOOH! We’re very different for an accountancy firm!” Go the whole way… the whole nine yards! Actually be a different accountancy firm.
Why should you do that?
First of all, you can own that differentiation. If you have already established yourself as the pink funny accountancy firm, it would simply be lame for someone else to come into the market and do the very same thing. People would say “oh, they’re just trying to be like that pink funny accountancy firm that is already around” – it’s old news, imitation, “me-too”. The other thing is that it will evoke feelings. People will either like it or not – and those that will like it are much likelier to do business with you. If you are just “better” then someone else can easily be “just better” tomorrow. The definition of “better” can change in an instance, and it is different between different people. In some ways, being “better” is a bit like being the cheapest. Tomorrow someone else gets a better deal and can sell things cheaper than you and you end up with a price war on your hands. Think about transatlantic airlines. One airline started offering fully reclining seats to sleep in – better, yes – but before you know it, all the airlines in that price category were offering them! You end up with a neverending leapfrogging race! Be different in a way that matters to people and you are much likelier to reap customer loyalty as a reward.
There are a few brands that I actually love because they’re very, very different and if you check out my Pinterest page at Pinterest.com/thoranna, you’ll find boards that are dedicated to some of my favorite brands such as Virgin Airlines, Poo Pourri, Ben & Jerry’s and Eat24. Have a look at them for inspiration. And I hate to talk in cliches, but there is a reason for them and classic examples are classic because they illustrate a point so well. Think about Apple. They have always been different. Like when they came out with the iMac – who made candy coloured see through computers? No one! And if someone had copied them? They would have just been that, lame copies. That was really really brave, and very very different.
So what I’m saying is that you need to be brave and be different, because if you don’t someone else eventually will, I can promise you that. Don’t be just like the others. Have character. Apart from everything else, it just makes life so much more enjoyable ;)
Why should I choose to do business with you? What is different about you?