How are you different?What is it that makes your company special? How are you different? Why should a customer buy from you rather than from someone else? Learning to express your distinct value proposition is a key requirement for growing business with bigger customers–especially if you are a small company going after customers that are significantly bigger than you.

But it’s not enough just to be different or to look different–there has to be a significant benefit to the customer related to your distinctiveness. In the graphic image, one gear stands out because it’s red. But just being red, when all the others are white, won’t make a sale. It’s more like, “We’re red because your nurses can easily tell that we can be dangerous under certain circumstances, so there will be fewer of the mistakes that you are trying to prevent;” or, “We’re red so that your assemblers can always find us quickly in a bin of parts, and that means faster inline speeds and reduced production costs; ” or “We’re red because that’s the color of the most durable surface available, and our parts will outlast the others, cutting down replacement costs and failure rates on your equipment.”

I’ve identified thirty-one ways to differentiate your brand,   and I plan to blog about each of them over the next few weeks.

Here’s my list of ways to distinguish yourself, so far.

  • focus
  • clarity
  • market niche
  • outcomes
  • timeline
  • method
  • process
  • testimonials
  • references
  • case studies
  • credentials
  • capabilities
  • narrowness
  • product innovation
  • deliverables
  • service
  • speciality
  • team
  • solves a specific problem
  • provides a specific opportunity
  • new twist
  • delivery method
  • cost
  • ROI
  • novelty
  • longevity
  • community
  • philanthropy
  • distribution
  • content
  • metaphor/story

I’ll also be asking for your examples of great brand promises and how they stand out! What do you think?