Are You Truly Differentiated?

images (18)Branding is key these days. How do you differentiate yourself? How well does your organization set itself apart from competitors?

Undoubtedly, we all need to spend time periodically reviewing and reestablishing our mission, vision, and values. This is equally applicable to individuals as it is to organizations. This is out companies, non-profits, teams, and each of us individually ensures we are playing to our strengths and passions, as well as understanding the unique value we bring to our environments.

Here in the dark days of winter, particularly when the outside temperatures have rarely gotten above zero for weeks, we each have the opportunity to look deep and figure our own value proposition – to ourselves and to our stakeholders. How are you different from the others out there? Where are you better, and where do you still have room to grow?

Here’s the litmus test….

Personal-Branding-BrandAfter you’ve determined your own values, purpose, and goals, and written them down, eliminate all identifying characteristics from your written notes. Remove your name, your company logo, or anything else that could clue others about to whom the description refers. Then have others take a look.

Are your current partners, customers, or stakeholders able to figure out the mission, vision, values, and proposition describe you? Or could they apply to many others around you? If the former, you’re golden. If the latter, well, you’ve got some work to do.

You see, if others can’t look at the sanitized version of your value proposition and determine that there is something fundamentally different between this proposition and others in the marketplace, you haven’t branded yourself near well enough yet.

Let’s face it, most of us are able to identify what we believe makes us unique, a combination of values, skills, experience, and ways of doing business (even in our personal lives). But far fewer can articulate these in ways that sound substantially different from everyone else. Think about it. How many organizations would say they don’t want to give #1 customer service or experience? How many would say they aren’t interested in being responsive, honest, and “cutting edge?”

Differentiation-2None of those things are differentiating….I hate to say it. It’s simply not. So, how DO you differentiate yourself…I mean, REALLY differentiate yourself?

7 thoughts on “Are You Truly Differentiated?

  1. Hi Trevor

    That is a tough question. I think I am different in my field to a degree, but you are correct there are others who have the same qualities and attributes that I have. You have given me something to chew on here…. I think I may write something and link your post to my blog 🙂

    1. Please do, Tina! I don’t know that I’ve perfected the concept in my world or organization, either. To a certain extent, it’s something that we continuously need to hone and adjust. As the marketplace changes, we need to revisit our value proposition and make tweaks continuously, even as the core values remain.

  2. Excellent food for thought there Trevor. These are words that I would use to describe myself and my values but do they differentiate me? Actually I’m not sure – I’ll have to try that exercise you mention above. My values and traits: reliable, Honest, Trustworthy, Loyal, Responsible, Inclusive, Creative, Committed, Helpful and Determined. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment. I think you’re right. These are all tremendous traits and values. But they’re likely the same one’s competitors would use to describe themselves. Perhaps the differentiation isn’t in the values and traits, though. Sometimes, it IS in the unique aspects or quality of a product or service. This concept is one that keeps me perpetually interested! Thanks for taking the time to read the post!

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