Be Different, Not Better

Be Different, Not Better

What makes a pair of black leather shoes better than another? Maybe you can tell by actually wearing these two pairs of shoes and comparing them after a few weeks of regular use. But essentially, you can’t tell which one is better – at least not at the onset. The only thing that differentiates them from each other is their brand. But if brand name is the only difference, then your company isn’t really all that different from the rest of the competition. And that’s the key for your business. You don’t have to be better than everyone else. You just have to be different.

Why Be Different?

Here are several reasons:

  • Identity. You give your brand a unique identity that differentiates it from all the others. Look at Trump as a politician. Love him or hate him, but he sure is different than your ordinary politician, wouldn’t you agree? And it’s that difference that makes him so popular among so many voters. The same thing is true for brands like Levi’s and McDonald’s. Their jeans and burgers may not be better, but their brand identity makes them unique.
  • It’s easier to be different. If you want to be better, you will need a lot of investment money to put into research and development. It’s easier to just carve out a unique identity by identifying the kind of people who will want to wear your shirts. And if you’re a small company, you can differentiate yourself by the designs you feature on your shirts.

How Can You Be Different?

Let’s say you’re starting a new deli in town, but your problem is that there are a dozen delis around. Here are some ways you can explore being different from the competition:

  • New product. So your competitors are only offering burgers with cheese? How about you serve burgers with bacon?
  • New service. If other delis do not offer home delivery, then provide this option for your deli.
  • New niche. You can also make your deli unique by providing vegetarian burgers, or by offering luxury burgers with exotic ingredients.
  • Special discounts. Maybe you can offer discounts at certain times, or in certain days.
  • New atmosphere. Perhaps you can decorate your deli shop in a way that certainly makes it different than other delis. You can offer gaming consoles, play a unique genre of music, etc. You can also let your servers dress up differently.
  • Solve a common problem. You can be different if you have the parking space to offer your patrons, or you have a play area for young kids so their parents can enjoy a meal.
  • Guarantees and prizes. Some restaurants offer challenges, such as “finish this supersized jumbo burger in 5 minutes and you get it free”. That’s a marketing ploy that can really make you different from other delis.

As you can see, there are many ways you can be different, and they’re easier to do than actually trying to be better than your competitors. And in a way, being different automatically makes you better. At least that’s true from the perspective of your customers.

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