Part of your value proposition is making your product or service stand out from the crowd. Business success often does not go to the best company or the company with the best products and/or services.
Being first in a given category and being different is even more important than having the best product or service. Want proof? Many companies who are leaders in their category do not necessarily sell the highest quality product or service. (Quick, name a hamburger stand in your town that sells better burgers than McDonald’s. I’ll bet it didn’t take you long. Every town has one.) But McDonald’s has succeeded in differentiating and positioning themselves in such a way that they deliver on a strong, perceived proposition valued by their customers.
If you don’t differentiate your products or services, you are destined to being a provider of generic products or services to be sold at the lowest price.
The term positioning means differentiating your company and its products by achieving a place in the minds of people to influence their behavior. With or without your help, people will position your company and its products or services in their minds. That position will be the sum total of all the inputs they receive from and about your company, including false rumors, misinformation, and fantasies they make up.
Perception is reality! Smart companies take charge of those inputs as much as possible and gear everything they do to consistently reinforcing the position they wish to occupy.
Business success goes to the company that wins the marketing war, the company that becomes positioned as a leader in its category. If you can’t be first in your category, create a category you can be first in! (If you can’t be first in laptop computers, be first in waterproof laptop computers for the marine industry.)
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