Thursday, November 8, 2007

What Makes YOU Unique?

It’s not easy differentiating yourself these days. Day after day, we see our client’s struggling to make their messages unique to their customers . . . trying to ensure that their message is heard in the sea of competitive messages out there.

So, when we come across a business that has truly found their niche, where they have differentiated themselves from the competition, we have to write about it. We’re talking about the Hard Rock Hotel.

We’re here in Las Vegas to attend the BlogWorld Expo, and were lucky (or smart) enough to book rooms at the Hard Rock. In a sea of thousands of look-alike hotel rooms, tons of casinos each with their unique theme and look, we believe that the Hard Rock has been able to really stamp their brand and differentiate themselves.

The ambiance hits you just as soon as you enter the building. Music blares (no stupid elevator music either—music you actually WANT to listen to. The requisite rock ‘n roll memorabilia surrounds you. But, wow—this is good stuff—like Elton’s sequined Dodger uniform and Carlos Santana’s full repertoire of guitars and leather jackets.

Now, think about this for a moment . . . this is VEGAS . . . the land of fantasy and sensory-rattling input – everywhere. So, differentiating yourself here is even more difficult than ever. Yet, Hard Rock has accomplished it. They have their own Vegas shows – real rock shows. They have excellent restaurants – Nobu Sushi is here. They have fun places to hang out, and of course, they have the requisite slot machines and black jack tables.

Here’s the difference: You know you’re in Vegas, yet you feel like you’re in the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. It’s cooler than Vegas. It’s got a good vibe – the slot machine noise is at a minimum, and the hoards of true gamblers don’t hang out here. Yet, you can gamble to your heart’s content if you want to. You can also take in a great rock show and shop for cool stuff. This is differentiation at its best.

So, why are we gushing about a hotel? I think it’s because we want to bring this same spirit to our own business and to our clients’ business. Seeing how this niche-ness can work makes us want to find that special thing that sets us/our clients apart from all others out there. It goes beyond positioning—to make your niche stand out, you have to bring REAL value. Then, of course, you have to make sure that your target market is aware of that value; that they find out about what makes YOU cool and different.

It’s not so easy to do. But, when it’s done right, pricing becomes a non-issue. Your competitors have a hard time, now, stealing your customers. It’s all good.

So, as you’re considering your business strategy for the next year, think about putting a little Rock-n-Roll into the agenda. Shake things up a bit. Make your true uniqueness stand out like it never has before. We can guarantee that your customers will appreciate your fresh approach – and will treat you like the Rock Star that you are!


Anonymous said...

Nice read.
Jim Baldwin
Spokane WA

Please speak up for Melanie.
LetHerIn dot org

Suzanne Obermire said...

Thanks Jim. Glad you enjoyed it!

Ted Grigg said...

I made a presentation to a prospect yesterday who spent about 30 minutes agonizing over this same issue. He wanted to know if we could test different corporate brands like we do direct mail offers?

I told him that it is unlikely that response rates will show one winner over another in such a limited and short term test.

But I did tell him that he should ask his present customers why they went with his company instead of a competitor. How did his company's behavior ring their bell?

In most instances, our customers already know why they selected us. And that reason usually goes beyond price or product selection depending upon the type of business we are talking about.

Customers cannot tell us how to communicate our brand. But they can reveal how they differentiated us from our competitors.

Suzanne Obermire said...

I think it's awesome that you took the step to ask customers why they ARE customers. And, you definitely cannot test brand preferences like you can test DM response. Or, if you can, I'd sure love to here how.

But at the end of the day, if it is so hard to articulate what sets one business apart from another business, I believe that that business needs to stop and evaluate themselves immediately. If they can't figure it out, I'm sure that their customers (and prospects) can't either...