At KEXINO, one of the first things that we do when engaging with a new client is to work in establishing the “remarkability” of their business.
Remarkability is what we call the externally evident characteristics of a company that make it remarkable. The company being noticeable enough for customers or prospects to make a ‘remark’ – to express their (hopefully positive!) opinion to others. In a world of me-too companies, products and services it’s essential to promote the unique characteristics of the organization to help differentiate them from the competition.
Invariably, when brainstorming with clients about their remarkability, they come up with adjectives that do the exact opposite of promoting their value differentiation. Their suggestions are things like:
“Our great customer service”
“Our high quality / great value”
Now while there’s nothing wrong with these traits, there’s a really big problem with using them as the basis of describing your business value: Everyone else is saying the exact same thing.
The problem is that when you’re so deeply submerged in the quality of your company’s products or services, focussed on making them the best that they can be, you subconsciously come to the conclusion that your competitors aren’t trying as hard as you are. Surely they’re not working as hard on as you are on making it as easy as possible for customers to buy from them, or delivering a quality product, or excellent customer service. Are they?
Nobody believes that they’re mediocre. Yet the Law Of Averages would have us believe that for every company subjectively rated at 90%, there needs to be a company rated at 10%, right? You have to believe that your business is delivering the best/fastest/highest quality/whatever product or service, otherwise you might as well shut up shop and go home. No-one (publicly) says “Our product is the second-best in the market.”
Hence the problem of using descriptions about “great customer service”, “high quality” and so on when describing your organization. There’s no differentiation, there’s nothing “remarkable”. If we all say that we’re the best, then we’re all the same – the customer has no point of reference.
“But our customer service really IS better than XYZ company!”, you protest. That may very well be the case, but in the context of differentiating your business value it’s irrelevant. Your customer will say (or think) “Well, that’s what the other guys say about you.” What do you do then? Slag-off the competition? That’s not going to get you very far, is it?
A great product, high quality, etc. are certainly very important. But today’s customers see them as a given. They are so obvious as to not be worth even mentioning. You don’t see car manufacturers promoting their latest model’s heated rear window, do you? Certain qualities about a company or product are assumed, and the fact that you’re mentioning them at all can lead to confusion – or even suspicion. “Why are they talking about reliability? Did they have reliability issues in the past?” The lady doth protest too much.
You cannot position your company based upon attributes that can be used by your competition. Your business value proposition needs to be something that the other guys can’t claim as their own.
Take a look at what makes your company unique. Push past the obvious and look deeper, to find the essence that really separates you from everyone else. Be remarkable, to be remarked upon.