…they care why you do it.
99% of the time what you do as a business isn’t that unique. But knowing why you do what you do is when the real differentiators are exposed.
Everyone talks about features and benefits. And of course, these are important, but at the end of the day if all we are doing is selling benefits, eventually every other copycat product or service will be able to offer the same features and benefits.
The slippery slope from there is price. When everything else is matched like-for-like, the only way to get more business is to compete on price. And again, eventually you’ll hit a bottom line which is unsustainable as a business, and the road to raising prices again is long and often takes no prisoners.
So, what’s left?
Start living why you do what you do. It isn’t enough just to say what your ethos is, or why you believe in making a difference… you have to live and breathe it through every aspect of your business.
When your customers only come to you based on having the cheapest product or service, you don’t create loyalty, you create 1-off customers who are always on the hunt for the next cheapest deal or service.
When you create a loyal customer base who believe in what you believe, share the same values, and can clearly see at every touch-point that you are true to that… loyalty is far more likely.
Having a loyal customer is far more important than getting a new customer based on a promotion. Loyal customers stick with you in the good times and bad. They are willing to forfeit a cheaper deal because they would rather do business with you. They are willing to wait in line for 6 hours to get the new iPhone, or wait 6 months for a custom Harley, or pay 50% more for your clothes.
Think about it, if you were a football club, would you rather have die-hard supporters who sit through every game, rain, snow, win or lose? Who wear the scarves, the jerseys and know ever stat about every player? Or have ‘fans’ who only support a team as long as they are winning? The same is true in business, those who don’t appreciate you and your business at a deeper level than just a commodity, won’t be loyal and will leave you as soon as a better deal comes along.
The Golden Circle
These ideas aren’t new. Simon Sinek has been speaking about this for years now. In his book Start with Why he poses the concept of the Golden Circle. I highly recommend reading this book.
The classic example that he gives is that of Apple.
If Apple were to start with what they did, a marketing campaign may sound like this:
“We make great computers. They’re user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. Want to buy one?”
Factually this is true, but this could equally be a message from Dell or Microsoft.
When you flip it to start with why, you get something like this:
“With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user-friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”
Apple have a cult-like following, willing to spend far too much money on a laptop or phone, for (arguably) not a better product in many respects (I say this as an avid Apple user!!). But they are true to what they believe, and that attracts like-minded individuals.
You can’t fake it
Authenticity matters, and matters more to Millennials than any other consumer group.
An international survey by Cohn & Wolfe found that 72% of global consumers ranked authenticity above innovation and product uniqueness.
Millennials are quickly becoming the most powerful consumer group with $200 billion in annual spending power, and they can’t be fooled easily.
That is why it is so important to actually be authentic, not just appear to be authentic if you want to thrive.
Nobody cares what you do… they care why you do it.