Each summer I attend my sons’ youth soccer games. Little kids’ games are extremely entertaining. They play what I call “the huddled masses” soccer, where a herd of children swarms the ball tripping over each other in the process. It’s wildly fun to watch.
Parents shout at their child to “kick harder” and “run faster”, hoping their kid can separate the ball and themselves from the pack. Any time a kid accomplishes this feat he or she generally is seen racing toward an open net and for an easy GOOOOAAAALLLLLL!
Businesses face a similar frenzy, getting lost in the masses while attempting to claw, kick and scream to be recognized. Having a good product or quality service isn’t enough; you must find distinct ways to separate yourself from the pack.
Here are 3 ways to separate yourself:
Understand the Business You’re In
Years ago I worked for a minor-league sports team. We started with the misconception that we were in the football business. We were wrong. As a sports team, we competed against movie theaters, concerts, amusements parks, miniature golf and other sporting events. We were in the entertainment business.
We needed to convince customers to spend their money attending our games over other forms of entertainment. Once we understood the business we were in, our marketing improved, each game became an event, and eventually ticket sales increased.
Be Known for Something
What do you want to be known for? What makes people think of you first?
When I want sushi, I think of Simply Sushi in Salt Lake City. To me, they are the best value for good sushi. There are cheaper sushi restaurants. There are higher quality ones too. Simply Sushi decided they would be known as the best value. This definition often wins my lunch money.
McDonald’s is known for the Big Mac. Burger King is Home of the Whopper. They offer other menu options, but they’re known for one main thing.
Trying to be all things to all people may result in not being known at all.
Many professionals and businesses still struggle to know what to do with Social Media. It’s okay to start simple and build your strategy from there. Social Media should be used to entertain, educate and engage.
Think of social media as another communication channel. Yes, it requires an investment in time, resources, and creativity. Your investment will be part of what separates you from your competition. Find ways to be different. Be interactive. Be memorable.
What other ways have you found to separate yourself?