The Importance Of Being Different And Succeed In The Market Place written by: Philp Agyeman-Budu
There is a powerful quote which says about the man and the crowd and how far he can go, can in fact be applied in every aspect in everyday situations; from love affairs to businesses and marketing. It’s actually a very strong message, that has been said by a number of famous people, such as Einstein and F. P. Wernig, but it hasn’t lost its importance. It means that when you walk alone and become your own leader -and stop being a follower- you set your own standards and try to achieve your own goals.
It’s true that most marketers know how important is to differentiate in the market place, in order to acquire more buyers and gain a great amount of profits, but people are trained -since they were kids- to go after the norm. For example, many children ask their parents to buy them the same toy, skirt or bicycle like the one their friends have, even if they don’t really need it. They just desire the same item, because someone else has it. And this is because they don’t want to go against the norm.
Thankfully, as people mature, they tend to realize that by keep following the crowd is not always the best choice. Instead they learn to appreciate the fact that by being different and follow their own path, they can actually succeed a lot of things in their personal life. But unfortunately in most cases this does not apply to business matters. And this is because people unconsciously need to look out of the norm and if they want to make the difference and succeed in the market area, they’ll have to really work on it and try hard to achieve it.
In business, in order to be different, the owners have to create their own unique selling proposition (known also as USP), if they want to stand out of the rest of business owners and successful. In fact, the USP has to be of a certain value for a specific audience in order the owner to create an a competitive advantage. Even this may sounds easy, actually it’s not.
Competitors can duplicate your advantage
Actually it’s not an easy thing to do. There is no company that wants to give up so easily, because the USP of their competitor is more interesting than their own. For example, Starbucks, in Seattle, has tried a few times the last years to improve its tea, but without a big success. More specifically, the markets that the company struggled to break were pastries, as well as bread and dessert firms, while other stores were more successful. This is because of the high quality of tea and bakery items the other brands offered. So they concluded that it was their unique selling point (UPS) which made them to differentiate themselves from Starbucks. But even they were right to believe that in fact their brick house would save them from the “bad wolf” (Starbucks), it didn’t happen this way at the end of this story.
Never underestimate the competition
A good business owner has always to take into consideration the abilities of other owners who sell similar products. After all, a competitor has always the option -if he can’t make a better product- to buy someone to do it for them. For example, in June 2012 Starbucks bought a famous bakery, as to expand its bakery products. It was a big move and until then all the medium/small shops that were competing with the ‘Big Bad Wolf” felt safe with their USP and on the last day of the same year, Starbucks made “Teavana” it’s subsidiary, by acquiring it in a very low price. This actually strongly underlines the need of some firms to overcome a competitive advantage. Like Starbucks, which was a minor player and in a few months dominated the market.
The use of USP as an advantage
Whether someone is the CEO of a company or just a client, has to know how the USP works. Also individuals pieces of content can and actually should have their own USP and use it accordingly to their advantage. Most companies that are struggling to compete with a big brand have to pay attention to their USP and this way they will see their sales to climb. A USP is actually what sets a business apart from others and stand for something specific. Many businesses make the mistake to try to stand for everything when they’re getting started. In fact, they want to do everything well, with the best quality and the lowest prices in the market. But this eventually will lead them to disaster. Of course, there are always some exceptions. For example, a big marketing agency can become known for many services and can fulfill all of them, since they have many departments and employees. But if a smaller firm wants to steal a market share from a competitor, it’s better to stand out for something and succeed in this, rather than trying to do everything.
“The Mast Brothers Chocolate” competes several other companies that sell chocolate. The “Mast” chocolate company is based in Brooklyn and was founded in 2007 by Rick and Michael Mast. But what makes them distinguish in the market? First of all the have an obsession with crafting chocolate. In fact they pay attention to every detail; they make every piece of chocolate by themselves and the packages as well Their dedication makes for a great USP, but that’s not only the case. They travel with a wooden sailboat to foreign places in order to find the best cacao on the planet. It’s actually a story of dedication, where no other chocolate company on earth can match. They actually have done a perfect job by selling something different from the big brands in chocolate industry.
Most of the business owners have to know their USP and review it regularly, because the same one won’t work forever. And this is because the marketplaces change and the competitors may catch up. So, the USP has to be adjusted to every new situation in order for a company to succeed. Online or offline, a company has to differentiate itself from the crowd; stand out of it and succeed.
Philip Agyeman-Budu founder and CEO of Authentic Imaging LLC, has for the past 7 years had the chance to work with highly reputable companies and helped with several online start-up companies.