In today’s world the consumer has turned the tables. Today’s consumer is in a position of power in just about every purchase transaction. That’s just part of the insight you’ll get by reading Bob Bloom’s The New Experts. Bob’s Blog on Five Most Serious Challenges CEO’s face in 2011 will give you quick insight into the consequences this shift in consumer awareness means to your business. I’m afraid these challenges remain for most CEO’s in 2012 as well.
As a business owner you must understand how the Internet and our fast paced technology shifts purchase transaction advantage from the business to the consumer. It used to be that the consumer was unable to know everything about a product/service. This put the business/product in a position of strength. Today with access to the Internet a consumer can quickly size up every competitor to negotiate the best purchase price and features they want. In fact in many cases they compare and purchase without even contacting your business or salespeople. More frightening, these consumers often know more about our competition than our sales staff’s do.
So how do you win in this environment?
You must differentiate your product/service from your competitors.
That’s the value of Bob Bloom’s The Inside Advantage. Today’s consumer doesn’t care about your brand. They care about what’s in it for them. There is so much commoditization today that everyone looks alike. Your job with your business/product/service strategy is to make it stand out, be different from your competition. So different that when a consumer views your website or comes in contact with your service/product they can immediately understand how it’s different.
In some cases it doesn’t matter if you are even differentiated at what the consumer finds is most important to them. What matters is you are differentiated. Your competition may not be doing a good job of sharing how they are different. If you differentiate you can win the business often because your competition is doing a poor job of establishing their competitive advantage.
This is the value of having a well-stated Strategy. Strategy is one of the Four Decisions every business must get right in order to grow. If you’re business isn’t growing the problem is you don’t have a well-defined Strategy.
On my “to do list” is a White Paper I plan to title: Brand Promise – Your First Lean Decision. Many companies invest far too much time and effort trying to be everything to their consumers and prospects. By simply focusing on what you can do best and what your customer needs you can strip away all the useless features and benefits your customers are not buying. You can attain absolute clarity on what your prospect/customer wants and then invest all your time and efforts on meeting these needs. Build your Brand Promise around this and you have clarity throughout your business on what your team should be focused on. More importantly you’ve gained the most valuable advantage in the marketplace. You are differentiated!
Working with Bob Bloom develops Your Inside Advantage. Bob believes that inside every business lies a sleeping opportunity. It’s an uncommon offering that your competitors have difficulty duplicating. This is Bob’s uncommon ability, to discover what a company’s uncommon offering is, take a complex, often challenging internal advantage and communicate it simply. It’s what he did for Southwest Airlines, BMW, TGI-Fridays, and Nestlé’s Juicy Juice.
My client and I are meeting again with Bob tomorrow to discuss the investment and why discovering this makes sense. Strategy is their number one priority for 2012. In fact their business is growing; however they recognize they are too dependent on one large customer. In order to grow and sustain their business they must expand their business to other similar sized companies. One of their biggest issues is that their main competitor is not a competitor at all, it’s a consumer who fails to understand the advantage their service brings.
Bob Bloom’s experience will provide an extraordinary impact. His ability to make the complex simple will help my client’s potential customers see their problem in a whole new light.
Bob feels there are six emotions you must appeal to in order to win the differentiation battle. Three are positive and three are negative. He also feels alignment is critical inside your business. Has a failure to communicate your strategy ever hurt your business? We’ll explore this in our next blog.