We live in a crowded world. There’s a lot of competition out there, and the barriers to entry for launching a business are now minimal. Thanks to social media and the digital age it seems that anyone with a few savings and a heap of passion can launch a business, and be successful. So it is now more important than ever that when you are building your brand you make sure it is founded on a really strong point of difference.
The truth is, if you are not different then you need to play a tough game. You will need to spend a lot of money on marketing to get your product or service out in front of your competitors and you will need to go head to head with your competition over who has the best offering. Often it then just becomes a price war. Sad face emoji.
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” Coco Chanel.
I WANT TO BE DIFFERENT!
Brands often ask me ‘how do we find our point of difference’? The thing is, you don’t actually find it, you create it. And then when you create it you need to be super diligent in consistent action around it. It is not easy creating an unique point of difference but when you do the rewards are ten fold…
\ more people share your brand – you become the talk of the town
\ you build a loyal following quickly – think Kendall Jenner on steroids
\ and of course the big one, you make more sales – think Frank Body with annual sales around $20million in just 4 little years
‘That’s me!’ I hear you say. Isn’t that the dream for any young entrepreneur – a launchpad to success?
SO, WHAT’S THE SECRET?
The interesting thing is that creating a point of difference is not necessarily about creating a new invention. It’s pretty hard to come up with the next Post it Note or the next Spanx. (Although if you can invent something new that solves a simple problem for people, then that is a recipe for a winning brand.) But for most of us that is a pretty tall order. So at The Brand Brigade our suggestion is to focus on creating difference through how you do something, for who and most importantly why.
To get you started consider these suggestions:
- Who do you serve?
Can you be really, really specific in identifying the type of people you are targeting as your customers. You are better to be everything in the world to a smaller number of people rather than trying to be somewhat OK to a bigger following. It is impossible to please everyone and why would you want to? That is a recipe for boring. Explore your tribe – where are they? What do they like and dislike? What do they believe? What do they do for fun? How do they live their lives? Get to know them intimately. Have coffee catch ups with as many as you can. For just $4 a day you can uncover a wealth of valuable intel just by taking the time to sit down and get to know your people. The better you know them the easier it will be to create a point of difference that will offer your peeps true value.
When you build up your go to people that you consider your target market, you can then work with them to test your idea/s. For anyone who is starting a business for the very first time, I would suggest talking to 50 potential customers about an idea. Once you have harassed friends and family enough, you’ll need to expand your circle and ask people who will be more likely to share their true opinions. Doing this exercise you might just find that you can get even narrower on your target market. Let me give you an example. Imagine that you were launching a range of coloured pencils. And you decided that your coloured pencils were different because you had two different colours in the one pencil. One end is yellow and one end is green. Or one end is blue and one end is purple. That means kids can have double the colours in their pencil case. So you identify your target market as Mums that have kids that love to draw. However after you talk to these mums you realise that kids that love to draw are very serious about their coloured pencils and only want the best. Derwent is the prefered brand by the young artists we hear. So with further investigation you discover that actually it’s not so much about kids that love to draw, it’s more about kids that like to draw but more importantly they love to have the best decked out pencil case in school. Double the colours, now that is cool! Can you see how this intel would change who you would target and how you would talk to them?
- Be the change
What’s the change you want to bring to the world? It doesn’t have to be a huge lofty almost insurmountable army requiring change. It could be as simple as, well we want more people to drink alternative milks because we have hard and fast proof that some people do better on plant-based milks. The point is to get clear on the change you want to bring and then build your point of difference around this change. It is a great entry point for creating something different.
- Tell your story
People love an interesting story. Storytelling has been used to communicate for centuries, in fact the first evidence of recorded stories dates back to 700 B.C. Stories capture the emotions of your listeners, it allows them to feel like they’re part of your journey. Capturing your unique story is part of your process of differentiation. Nobody can replicate your story. Tell it well. Inspire people and have some fun.
So young entrepreneurs the morale to all this is that you need to do the work now and create your point of difference. Nope, don’t put it off until tomorrow or next week. It’s important. In fact it might be the single most important thing you do to drive your success.
If you have created a great point of difference we would love to hear from you. Let us know how you did it? Just send us a message at [email protected]
Jodie + Em xx