Differentiate and you stand out in a crowded marketplace. Present your uniqueness and emphasize your rare attributes in your sales copy and promotions and you'll capture the imagination and interest of those you want to reach. In a world of copycats, it pays to be an original. It’s usually the creator of a new concept who gets the most mileage from it. Innovative entrepreneurs often become market leaders while competitors keep doing things the same old way – until change is forced upon them. Differentiate or die.
Challenging the way things have always been done can lead to creative new options that reward you with a windfall of profits. Differentiate your business and you attract attention. It’s new, different – even revolutionary – and it’s the kind of thing that generates excitement and creates a stir in the market. After all, few new customers would be drawn to you -- if you were doing the exact same thing, the exact same way as everyone else. Consider this question... “What Could You Do To Differentiate Yourself, Your Business, Or Your Product In A Way Prospects and Customers Would Appreciate?” Another thought to ponder is this... “What Traditions Could You Break That Would Capture Attention And Interest?”
Putting an effective new spin on your business should be done with the needs and desires or your customers and prospects in mind. Differentiate from their point of view. What changes can you implement that would make customers say “Wow!”? Think in terms of what people want. Essentially, they want to be served better, faster and with more convenience. They want to be entertained. They want to solve problems with less effort. They want instant gratification. They want respect and to be treated as VIP's (which customers are, of course). They want to do business with companies that care about them, their environment, and the world at large. Differentiate in a way that appeals to these desires. Look at every facet of your business and compare the way you do things to the way competitor does. Are you operating in a similar manner? How might you do things differently? What changes could you make in that area that your customers would truly appreciate and value?
Differentiate and you gain a huge advantage. Re-invent your business operations and marketing materials as though you were the customer. Design everything from the customer’s point of view. Take “tradition” and turn it upside down. Recast your business. Make it more user-friendly and benefit-oriented. Blaze a new trail... even if it means re-inventing your entire industry.
Let’s look at a few simple examples. Many retail stores have their cash registers right up front – near the entrance. Couldn’t that prime real estate be better used to display enticing new merchandise and lure in more customers? PJ’s Pet Centers does this well. They’ve cleverly placed a large cage of adorable puppies right outside the front entrance. Few people can walk by without a short visit... and many of those are drawn inside the store. Some entrepreneurial-minded restaurateurs do the same thing with their kitchens. Patrons find it interesting and entertaining to watch the chef expertly prepare a multitude of culinary delights. At the same time, most competing kitchens are at the back of the restaurant and out of the way, so no one ever sees inside.
East Side Mario’s has done something unique to differentiate itself. They know that desserts are among the most profitable items any restaurant can offer. So they don’t employ the traditional dessert tray or standard menu. Instead, they present beautiful color slides of their delicious, mouth-watering creations in a View Master. A View Master is a small plastic toy -- about the size of a camera – that you hold to your eyes and click to change the image shown. Who can resist viewing each one of their specialties? It’s a fun, novel way to unveil delicious treats. Everyone gets a chuckle out of it the first time around and I’d be willing to bet that more people buy dessert because of it. Take a close look at your business and industry. What is considered “standard practice”? How might business be done differently? How could you change things in a way that creates interest, desire, curiosity, and more sales? In a world of apples, it pays to be an orange.