Find it, position it, sell it

what makes you different

Last year, somebody sent me flowers for my birthday. It was a lovely gesture, but it’s not the flowers that stick in my mind. Instead, it was the way they were delivered. Not by a surly, shaven-headed driver in a white van. But by a fresh-faced young guy with a broad smile and an unusual mode of transport. For Outspoken Delivery have no vans at all – just a fleet of strange-looking bicycles. They claim they’re ‘100% emission free (excluding a little hot air)’.  And one of their testimonials says “Don’t use this business! They’re so good, I want them all for myself”. How could you not like them? They may not be the fastest. They may not be the cheapest. But they’re certainly the most different. And that’s why I’d use them. Wouldn’t you?

Stand out or stand down

We all like to think we’re different. We tell our customers we’re different. We say it so much we actually end up believing it. But we’re often just deluding ourselves and the customer sees right through it. Being different means really being different. Like They sell stuff on the internet. So what? Well here’s the difference: they sell just one item a day – until midnight, or until their stock runs out. Today, it might be a vacuum cleaner, tomorrow a USB heated coffee mat. And when the clock strikes twelve, they move on. It doesn’t matter that they could have sold another 500. When it’s over, it’s over. It’s a silly, irrational, counter-intuitive idea. And it’s wildly popular.

A sideways view

We can’t all turn our business model on its head, or turn to pedal power when it doesn’t make sense. Wacky is good, but only if it makes money. But we can step back and take a different view. Tom’s of Maine manufactures toothpaste. So how can they take on the giants of the toothpaste world? Simple. By telling a story, and making it personal. Check out their website, and you’ll see no corporate double-speak. Behind Tom’s of Maine is a charming, smiley couple called Tom and Kate. Their toothpaste isn’t cheaper – in fact, it’s much more expensive. And it’s not everywhere – they sell mainly through health-food stores. But it’s very, very successful.  And from toothpaste they’ve expanded to a whole range of healthcare products. Different is memorable. Different sells. Different is what makes the difference. Find out more: