The Importance of Differentiation




Do you remember the second person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean? How about the second person to walk on the moon? No. That doesn't ring a bell?


Being the first at something is a big deal. It sets you apart and is an easy story to communicate and remember.


But what happens when you haven’t created something equivalent to the iPhone or self-driving cars? What happens when you have a great product but it’s not the first of its kind or the most innovative? In the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Al Ries and Jack Trout explain that if you can’t be the first, then it is worthwhile to create a new category all your own.


Take the example of the Trans-Atlantic Flight. Charles Lindberg went down in history as the first man to cross the Atlantic while the predecessor, Bert Hinkler, ended up in obscurity. The real pity is that the history books don’t even mention Hinkler. A quick google search cited Amelia Earhart as the second person to fly across the Atlantic. Hinker didn’t even get a footnote.


How can that be?


Well, in the case of Hinkler, it might have something to do with the fact that Amelia Earhart not only crossed the Atlantic. She was the first woman to do so. Earhart created a new category altogether– creating an exciting story that was easy to share and communicate.


That is the value of being the first. It’s easy for people to understand and it’s exciting news. But if you aren’t the first to offer your product or service, don’t fret. There are other ways you can differentiate your business.


In Jim Collin's book, Good to Great, he introduces an idea called the Hedgehog Concept. It is a framework that helps you to determine your business’ unique selling point. Collins explains the Hedgehog Concept as, “A simple, crystalline concept that flows from deep understanding about the intersection of three circles: 1) what you are deeply passionate about, 2) what you can be the best in the world at, and 3) what best drives your economic or resource engine. Transformations from good to great come about by a series of good decisions made consistently with a Hedgehog Concept, supremely well-executed, accumulating one upon another, over a long period of time.


In a world that is flooded with overwhelming options, there is value in adopting Collin’s approach. Understanding the real, unique value your business offers the world and communicating that in a clear and consistent way is a winning strategy.


Ready to find your edge? Then listen up to this week’s episode. 👇🏻



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Victoria is a Marketing Mentor to early-stage founders. She has built compelling brands around the globe and has worked as a marketing director across several verticals. She is passionate about helping women think BIGGER about their businesses and giving them the tools to grow. She'd love to connect on LinkedIn or email her at hello@ugliboss.com.


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