Standing out to your customers, and potential customers is one of the most important things you can do in a business. If we don’t show we’re different you run the risk that you’ll be judged on PRICE ALONE…an that’s not a good strategy…
So…you should consider what UCD’S …Unique Core Differentiators you can have for your business.
There are 3 kinds of Unique Core Differentiators.
The first is an ‘Actual’ Unique Core Differentiator. That is, there’s something genuinely unique about your business, the products, or services you provide or the way in which you provide these products and services.
Creating your Unique Core Differentiators will revolve around expressing that actual uniqueness in a way that’s meaningful to your potential customers and clients.
‘Parts Overnight’ is a great example. ‘In fact, the Unique Core Differentiator for this business is actually expressed in the company’s very name!…
You see, the business owner found out that it was virtually impossible to fix a laser printer overnight or even to get spare parts for printers overnight. The average turnaround was, in fact, 6 weeks! He went out on a limb and figured that other people must want their laser printers fixed sooner than that, too.
The owner studied the distribution channel within the industry carefully and found that it wasn’t individual laser printer owners he needed as customers. Rather, he needed the computer and printer technicians who went into businesses and maintained the computer and printing systems and networks.
Worse yet, he discovered that only a couple of very large companies, some of them printer manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard, actually carried spare parts and did repairs for those technicians. Because of this, they really had the technicians over a barrel. They knew that if they said it was going to take 6 weeks, there was nothing the customers could do about it.
Next, he worked out a way to deliver those repaired laser printers or printer parts overnight to the technicians. (Who, in turn, then enjoyed the kudos of having happy customers.) Hence the name ‘Parts Overnight.’ And he also put systems in place to make sure the parts and repairs were delivered not only quickly but also correctly and in working order. In fact, he offered a guarantee on quality, too.
That shows just how powerful the actual Unique Core Differentiators can be, especially if they’re combined with the next type of Differentiator.
The second is a ‘Created’ Unique Core Differentiator. That is, you create a point of differentiation between your business and your competitors.
For example, you may create a guarantee unlike any offered in your industry, one that your competitors are too scared to make. You may offer a level of after-sales service that surpasses all others. You may have the only delivery or installation process of its kind. You may do something smarter or faster than your competitors.
Here’s a simple example for a wholesaler. Imagine you’re a wholesaler who sells freshly baked cakes to retailers. You’re new to the market or you want to grab market share from your competitors AND you want to do it without discounting.
You know that your competitor sells cakes that are (in the client’s perception at least) as good as yours. And your prices are about the same, too. What can you do? You have to come up with something that will make you stand out—a Unique Core Differentiator that will make you the choice of cake suppliers.
Well, the first thing the wholesaler in question did was to look at things from the customer’s point of view. The wholesaler realised that the retailers of his competitor’s cakes often couldn’t sell all their cakes. So the retailers had to throw away the cakes, losing money in the process.
This wholesaler decided to put together a strategy to reverse the risk. That is, he sold his cakes on the simple basis that if the retailers didn’t sell them, the wholesaler would take back the leftovers at full price. That way, the retailers have a guaranteed margin and never lose.
It’s clear that by structuring the business around this guarantee and creating this Unique Core Differentiator, the wholesaler stood out from the crowd in a competitive market. In fact, the strategy worked well. It worked only because this Unique Core Differentiator solved a customer frustration and made it easy for the retailers to see a clear point of differentiation between this cake supplier and another. The retailers were given a better reason to buy from this wholesaler.
As it turned out, the retailers were even prepared to pay a slightly higher price to get the product from this wholesaler, simply because of the Unique Core Differentiator.
Not only that, the wholesaler also got more shelf space for his products—customers bought more and more product simply because there was less risk. (To be even more different, the wholesaler could have taken this one step further by providing point-of-sale, benefit-oriented merchandising material, offering sales training sessions for the retailer’s team, and so on.)
Further, the wholesaler began creating partnerships with the retailers because he had done something nobody else was willing to do and made life easier for them.
Of course, many other wholesalers would have thought of the downside of promoting this offer. Some might have thought they’d go broke. Or that people would abuse the system. Some may but the majority WON’T. However, because it is a Unique Core Differentiator, the business was actually built around that promise, that core, so systems were in place to protect it, if needed.
Instead of ‘giving away’ the risk reversal, this wholesaler used it as a negotiating tool. Simply put—‘When you pay me within 7 days, I’ll guarantee to take back any stock that doesn’t sell.’
A powerful concept, isn’t it? Think about your customers’ frustrations. How could you make dealing with your business easier and more beneficial than dealing with your competitors? And then how could you build your business to promote a Unique Core Differentiator to articulate it clearly?
The third kind of Unique Core Differentiator, the ‘Perceived Unique Core Differentiator,’ is also critically important—your Unique Core Differentiator does not (in fact) have to be unique.
Now before you say, “You’ve totally lost me,” consider this further because it’s critical to understand.
You may not have anything in your business that’s totally unique. But if you’re the first one to articulate a difference (even though others do the same), you’ll stand out in the marketplace as if you are unique. Simply because you’ve been the first to articulate it.
So with this kind of Unique Core Differentiator, the customers perceive there’s a difference when in fact there may not be any real difference. In this instance, you may simply articulate what you do better than your competitors, like the suggestions just outlined above.
An example comes from Schlitz Beer.’ Schlitz, ranked 17th in terms of volume of beer sold, wanted to increase sales dramatically. The company called on advertising great Claude Hopkins to come up with an advertising campaign that would really boost sales. Claude studied the processes used to create Schlitz beer, then he went to work. He wrote a fantastic story about how the water used in the beer came from the freshest springs in the Colorado mountains, how the hops went through the processes, and how, after all this nurturing, Schlitz Beer really had the flavour.
The campaign was extremely successful. Sales increased so much that the company moved to a ranking of second. What’s the point? Schlitz made beer the same way as its competitors. In fact, the competitors’ processes were almost identical. The only difference was that the competitors didn’t articulate it the way Schlitz did. They failed to tell the story of the beer and differentiate their beer in the minds of the consumers.
Schlitz, on the other hand, managed to articulate what it did in a unique way, creating the perception in the consumers’ minds that the beer must be better. As such, Schlitz managed to create a ‘perceived’ difference, a Perceived Unique Core Differentiator.
Further, because the campaign was so successful, competitors tried to run campaigns that said ‘We do that, too!’ However, the customers wouldn’t budge because Schlitz owned that perception in the consumers’ minds.
Our way of doing things is unique and it’s why it produces unique results for our clients…
We would love the opportunity to help you clear your head on what is the right way for you to accelerate your business…
We highly recommend you watch this step-by-step case study of how we grew Beefy’s Pies into a Famous Aussie Icon from a small stressed out bakery into a family owned chain. Click here to get all the insights into their success...
Or if you have heard enough about how we work with our small business owners, then let’s have an off the record chat about your current situation and see what we can do to immediately guide you…click this link to see what time best suits you.
P.S. Ask if our Boardroom Program intake is open for enrolments…It works best for business owners who see the benefit of having us on as their ‘external partner’ so that they are not alone in the day to day decisions of their business.