Roy Osing
02 Apr 2018

The only way to get a competitive advantage

NEVER has it been more important to carve out a distinctive and unique place for your new business in the market than it is today.

The economy is unpredictable. 

Competition is intense as new competitors are entering the market at a blistering rate.

New technology "rains down" relentlessly.

Markets are cluttered with sameness; products and services are undifferentiated, relying on price to be the difference. And competitive claims are lost in the crowd.

Customers are more empowered than ever before, establishing relationships with suppliers that deliver distinctive solutions and ignoring those that don’t.

Which new businesses are successful and survive this challenging business environment, and what separates them from the others that struggle, hang on and eventually fail?

Those that are able to win this battle and survive are DiFFERENT from their competitors.

They survive the scrutiny of the discriminating customer by providing relevant, compelling and unmatched value. 

They die.

How do you create a competitive advantage that will survive the dynamics of a chaotic world? 

Let's face it, most businesses have difficulty explaining to a prospective customer why they should go with them and not the many others in the market that basically look the same. 

If you can't give specific reasons why your business idea should be chosen over every other one being offered by your competitors, you won't be chosen. 

The choice will be owned by the organization that is able to cut through the clutter and provide the reason to buy with clarity and simplicity.

"You don't want merely to be the best of the best. You want to be the ONLY ones that you do." -- Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead

An effective competitive claim is not about being "the best", #1, "the top", “the leader” or by using any other qualitative descriptor that ranks your team against your competitors. 

Descriptors such as these are argumentative (who says you’re the best?) and unclear (what specific elements of your value proposition do you claim to be the “best”?).

Claims like these don't provide the clarity required to be convincing to anyone who is considering a purchase decision. They are simply not believable.
— "We offer the best customer service" 
— "We are #1 in the market" 
— “We offer competitive prices”
— “We are the worldwide leaders in CRM solutions”
— “We have employees who are unmatched in the high tech world”.

It's like throwing your words to the wind and hoping they will resonate with someone .

The ONLY Statement is the way to express your uniqueness.

"We are the ONLY ones that..." is binary; it claims that your organization does something (that people desire and care about) that no one else does. 

It's simple and clear without the need for lofty language that lacks substance.

Here are a couple of ONLY examples.
— “eBrake is the ONLY one that automatically locks a driver’s phone when motion is detected, but grants passengers unrestricted use.”
— “We provide the ONLY solution that permanently stops people from depositing biohazard contaminants through manhole covers”
— “We are the ONLY provider of First Aid, Health & Safety Solutions Anytime, Anywhere”

Building the ONLY statement is a disciplined process. It requires that you have a strategic game plan with an intimate understanding of what your target customers "crave and lust for". 

But if you put in the time and effort you will be rewarded by leaving all others that claim they are “the best” in the dust.

Roy Osing (@royosing) is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead


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