The marketplace is more competitive than ever for any industry. Long gone are the days where big companies hogged the limelight. Now anybody has the ability to create a company and operate with contacts, a laptop and a phone. This of course makes it harder and harder for organisations to not only realise the importance of differentiation but also how to separate themselves from the crowd.

After researching some organisations on behalf of a client to help do just this, I realised that many businesses within the same sector almost unconsciously use the same buzzwords and jargon in an attempt to make themselves stand out. It becomes quite tedious as a potential prospect to trawl through websites where every single possible supplier is describing their services as:

  • Leading
  • cost-effective
  • efficient
  • bespoke
  • consistent

These are not differentiating messages! How do I know this? Well the easy way to identify whether or not they are differentiating is to look at the opposite meanings of these words. Would anyone want to work with a business which claimed it was:

  • Insignificant
  • Expensive
  • Sluggish
  • One size fits all
  • Inconsistent
  • Disloyal

Nobody would! Words where the opposite isn’t also a potential strength are not differentiators. This indicates how often content we produce wastes time telling people things that they will already assume.

How to get started in identifying differentiation

Here is a handy exercise to help you cut the fluff from your messaging, (which hopefully will enable you to use more words to tell people the info they really need):

  1. Write four or five words or short phrases which you think differentiate yourself from your competitors
  2. When you have your list of words or phrases, write next to each of them the opposite of the word you have. If you have a bit of a mind blank, you can use Word Hippo to do the thinking for you.
  3. If that opposite isn’t also a potential strength, then it’s not a differentiator.

With each word or phrase, you need to support your claim with some evidence that this can be achieved if a prospect chose your business as a supplier.

Although a very simple overview on how to differentiate your business from the competition – I wanted to highlight that we are really in too competitive of an age to be using the same buzzwords when describing why our business is the best.
Try it on your business today and you’ll be shocked at the results!
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