We have to remember that every day, both our existing customers and potential customers are looking at us and wondering “why would I pick you?”
Marketing 101 is that you need to understand how you’re different from your competitors. It is perfectly logical — if you cannot differentiate yourself in terms of what you sell, how you sell it or why you sell it — the only differentiator left is price.
Maybe it boils down to this.
Would you rather invest the time and brain equity into figuring out (from the consumer’s point of view) how you are different or would you rather just have to be the cheapest?
Either choice is a good one. It’s really all about your business’ strategy. After all, Walmart seems to be doing okay with the cheapest route. But let’s say that you don’t want to commit yourself to a perpetual price war. Then what?
Then you need to go back to really understanding how you’re different (for the love of all that is holy, please do not say — it’s our people or we care more) and what sub-set of potential customers is in perfect alignment with that distinction.
Did you twitch a little at the phrase “sub-set of potential customers?” This is one of the main reasons why I think companies don’t discover and honor their brand better. They want everyone’s money — not just the right people’s money. I’ll dig into that later this week. For now, let’s stay focused on the discovering how you’re different.
We have a branding process that we walk clients through and I’m proud to say that many of our clients will tell you that it completely changed the way they did business. It’s one of our favorite things to do at McLellan Marketing Group.
But…for you do it yourselfers — start by really taking some time and answering these questions, but remember, the answer can never be the product or service you sell:
- Beyond profitability, what is the mission of your company?
- If your company were to leave a legacy, what would it be?
- How does your organization make the world a better place?
- If firm disappeared tomorrow, what would be missed most of all?
- What is the single most-important aspect of your company?
- With regard to your organization, what do you feel passionate about?
- What business is your company in?
- What business is your company not in?
- Which three adjectives best describe your organization?
- Who (customer) would love your company the most?
- How do you prioritize your customers? If you had to allocate 100 points between the different customers segments or types (in terms of importance), how would you do so?
- What customer need does your product/service fulfill? Why does your target customer need or want you sell?
- What emotion(s) do you most closely associate with your product or service?
- How will your organization change your industry?
- How will your company change the world?
And some fun ones to twist your brain around:
- If your company was a shape, what would it be?
- If your organization was a texture, what would it be?
- If your firm was a mood or feeling, what would it be?
- If company was something from nature, what would it be?
If you’re really brave — pull together some of your best customers and see how they answer these questions. Or, schedule a team retreat and walk through them with your employees.
If you actually take the time to really dig into each of these questions until you’ve come up with answers that resonate and aren’t the first or a trite response — I think you’ll be surprised at how it changes the way you look at your business, what potential customers you approach and how you describe yourself.
Are you brave enough to tackle these questions?