Difference happens

Differentiation is like the Holy Grail of business, but there are some simple questions you can ask that will help you get there.

While meeting with a colleague this week, the topic of that Holy Grail of business – differentiation, came up in our conversation. I call it a Holy Grail because so many spend time and money in search for it. But here is my take – differentiation happens as a result of other things.


I have been writing these last three weeks about different questions that matter, and the way to differentiation can be found via three questions that address the breadth of your organisation: What do you do? Why do you do it? How do you do it?


If you explore those questions honestly, you will find what is different.


Looking for slivers of differentiation, or worse trying to manufacture it to meet some perceived market “gap”, is not sustainable and leaves you open to it being copied by your competitors (if you can see the gap I am pretty sure they can too).


Like so much that I talk about, differentiation comes from inside your organisation. It is the result of other things you do, things that are in the answers to those three questions.


You might be the fastest, cheapest or best. Your products could be unlike anything out there. Your customer service might be the best there is, and your stores great places to hang out. The variations and options are endless. But what makes YOU different?


Answering the questions – what do you do, why do you do it and how do you do it, is a great place to begin finding out.


The three questions is my take – here are some other perspectives on differentiation:


  • Ask your customers why they chose you. Read on >
  • Telecom providers provide a cautionary tale. Read on > (free sign up required)
  • Harvard Business Review reveals lots of ways. View search >
  • Inspiration can come from unusual places. Read on >



See you next week.



Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia, and Brand Alignment Group in the United States, she helps organisations align who they are, with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.


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