Why do business with you?
The number one challenge facing today’s “choice-rich, time-poor” consumer is sameness.
Whether it be a cup of coffee, pair of jeans, laptop computer, Chinese meal, a kilo of sausages, new car, bank, airline, law firm or mutual fund, every competing product or service available to consumers essentially looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feels the same. And give or take a few dollars or cents, they even cost the same.
How then, in an increasingly crowded global marketplace, does any business hope to get consumers to shop at their place, to choose them over their competition?
“Differentiate! Differentiate! Differentiate!” proclaims the late Roberto Goizueta, CEO of Coca Cola.
Some businesses endeavour to differentiate by offering lower prices, yet in the words of advertising guru David Ogilvy, “Any damn fool can put on a deal, but it takes genius, faith and persistence to create a brand.”
Differentiating a business through creating innovative products or designing a unique customer service experience takes considerable brainpower. And there in lies the problem. “Thinking is the hardest work there is. That’s why so few people engage in it,” confirms Albert Einstein.
One of the main reasons why businesses struggle to develop a point of difference is because they fail to allocate ‘future-storming’ time on a regular basis. Most business operators are so tied up in their ‘busyness’ tending to the urgent, that they forget to take time out to address the important. The underlying reason why there is so much urgent stuff to contend with in the present, is because the important aspects of running a successful business are often being neglected.
The solution: Commit to taking time out every 90 days to ‘future-storm’ your business. Gather your best people around you and brainstorm the future of your business.
Ask questions of yourself such as;
- What’s working, what’s not?
- What are our competitors up to?
- What do our customers really think about our products and services?
- Do we really know, or do we just think we know?
- Why do some consumers shop with others and not us?
- Where are our current areas of weakness; where are we vulnerable?
- What plans do we have in place if a major economic downturn was to occur?
- What’s different about us?
- What are we famous for? Are we in fact famous for anything?
- What can we do differently to create a unique service experience for our customers?
- Where will our future business come from?
- What are we doing to ensure that our people are the best in the business?
Developing the discipline to take time out on a regular basis to debate and design your future will return tremendous dividends to your business.
Creating compelling reasons for consumers to choose you over your competition is arguably your number one responsibility. Best selling author of Differentiate or Die Jack Trout puts it this way, “Those who fail to differentiate their product or service in the mind of the consumer won’t stand a chance.”
Will you stand a chance?