Brand Differentiation

pkbzmfojesqzlwludnf5According to the U.S. Patent office, of all patent applications submitted over the past five years, 99% were for improvements made to existing products (i.e. the third blade in the Gillette Mach3 razor, the twenty-year light bulb, or the new & improved super-hold gel used in Donald Trump’s Hair).

Then there are the ‘innovative disruptors’ (a term created by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Cristensen) that have been created that profoundly alters the boundaries of an existing industry. Think Netflix vs. Blockbuster, Red Bull vs. soft drinks (energy drinks were non-existent prior), and Amazon vs. the world. Not to mention Nike, who dominates the athletic footwear industry with a shocking 62% of US brand share, more than four times the other brands’ combined value. Their logo alone is the world’s 3rd most recognizable image – behind only Santa Claus and McDonald’s.

So what improvements have you made recently to make your customers say “WOW”? If you’re not quite at the ‘innovative disruptor’ stage yet –that’s okay. But you should be on your way and striving to have a clear and substantial difference between you and your competitors.

Recently I was in NYC, walking just a few blocks from Grand Central Station over to Third Avenue. On my way to my (high powered) appointment, I noticed eight different dry cleaners in just a three-block radius! On my way back, I did some further investigating and noticed that each dry cleaner had their own special niche: one was 100% organic, one offered same-day pickup & delivery, one offered free pressing while you wait to get ‘freshened up’ (for members only), and yet another had a plethora of pricing plastered all over their window, so I assumed they were the K-Mart of the bunch. The point is this: each one offered a clear, unique value-proposition to their customers.

So, what does your business do – or what could it dowaaaay differently (better) than your competition? And how do your customers recognize the difference between you and your fiercest competitors?

Key Takeaway: Clarify and improve your difference, your competitive edge – is it clear to all of your employees, and more importantly, is it crystal clear and does it really matter to your customers? If not, Refine your offer. Communicate your value. Create your market attraction. Invest in WOW.

Need help delivering your value-proposition message to your customers? Founder and Creator of The Coelho Group, Michael Coelho has a proven track record (and lots of testimonials) of helping salespeople, managers, and small business owners improve their sales programs, increase customer loyalty, and develop their leadership skills. You can contact Michael at or call him directly at 508 277 5119.


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