Think of this the other way round. If I am a “me too” organisation and don’t stand out from the competition I will lose business. One of the most important, and yet hugely underrated points about successful businesses, is that they do stand out because they are different – hence the critical importance of Differentiation. What is it that I am known for?

The aim is to shine in the marketplace in a way the customers care most about. And to hone that value in such a way that that the target market sees it as unique and it puts the competition to shame. To get to a quick answer research what your customers value, check what messages your competitors are selling on and then plot yourself and your competitors on an X/Y axis and see where you all fall – but equally importantly see where you want to be. Also, bear in mind that to dominate (and be seen to dominate) a certain part if the market, means that more often than not you will need to narrow your focus and not expand your horizons.

A few years ago British Airways happily told us that they were the “World’s Favourite Airline” giving off the vibe that they were the biggest and the most popular – so they must be doing an awful lot right. Since then then though, they have nose-dived because they have been overtaken by many other carriers including Lufthansa (on size as they are the biggest) and Emirates (on customer service). What they haven’t managed to do is establish what makes them different – and this is costing them dearly.

In the words of Anita Roddick the founder of Body Shop “If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different, be just.”

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