How do you differentiate your business?

We live an increasingly homogeneous world. Visit a shopping mall in the USA and you’ll find many of the brands present in UK shopping centres and the same is true in many parts of Europe. Whether we operate on a global scale or a local one we face increasing competition. So how do we differentiate one business from another? A recent walk around my local neighbourhood got me thinking about how you would choose a real estate agent on the basis of these boards.

Example real estate board

Frankly these boards wouldn’t help. Estate agents’ boards have been the same for as long as I can remember. Now I know that the boards are designed to attract the passing motorist so information is kept brief but I think these boards are a missed opportunity. How do we sort one agent from another?

If I was house hunting I would start on the Internet so why don’t these boards give me a website address? If I saw a For Sale board outside a house I liked the look of I would want to know if it was the right size and if I could afford it so why not include a QR code? Surely I can’t be the only person who would stop her car to take a closer look at a house I admired. How many househunters have tablet computers or smartphones with them most of the time? A high percentage I would guess so a QR code would get the potential buyer to the property details very quickly. A ‘book now’ button would speed up the whole process of arranging viewings especially if the ‘book now’ took me through to a calendar that allowed me to choose my appointment time.

Real estate boards are a form of marketing communication so surely they should have a call to action and should differentiate one business from another. Perhaps a strap line could help. Whilst Estate Agents’ boards are there to draw attention to houses for sale their other purpose is surely to attract new vendors. The Estate Agent who showed imagination and originality would be one I would consider asking to market my property. What about you?

Can your prospects and customers easily differentiate your business from your competitors? Is the difference instantly obvious or do they have to get to know you before they spot the differences? Will they bother? Success rarely comes from being a copycat of a successful business. Can you give your brand a personality which will differentiate it from your competitors? A good example of how to do this would be Innocent where each pack contains a conversation with the customer.

I’d love to hear how you make your business stand out from the competition. What makes you different and how do people find out about that difference? Why not comment here?

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