Reframing Differentiation: An exercise to help build your brand

Here’s a quick and easy exercise that you can try to break through the blocks to help make your organization shine amongst all the other stars out there.

Creating a differentiation statement (or value proposition) for your business can be a real bear.

Figuring out how to tell the story of your business and what makes it better, more attractive, or more beneficial than all the other people out there selling similar stories has kept many an entrepreneur up many a night.

This usually stems from starting with incredibly challenging questions like:

  • What are you best at that no one else can do?
  • What makes you unique in your marketplace?
  • Why should someone choose you for this work? What makes you so special?

You can pretty quickly see how trying to answer those questions can produce a TON of anxiety.

So here’s a quick and easy exercise that you can try to break through the blocks to help make your organization shine amongst all the other stars out there.

First, brainstorm phrases and concepts that describe who you are. These can be pretty much anything: what you do, who you serve, where you are located, some technology you use, a system you use… really anything that could be used to describe your business. These don’t have to be unique and you don’t need to spend all day at an off-site retreat in order to come up with your list.

Next, select the three you find the most compelling. The ones that pull at your heartstrings or, better yet, will pull at the heartstrings of or resonate with your ideal customers.

Now, assemble them into a single statement about your business to provide the inspiration for a differentiation statement on which you can start to build your messaging.

Here’s an example:

  1. Jim’s Roofing wants to focus on new roofing construction in Kansas City (which is a service many businesses provide – so not a particularly strong differentiator),
  2. they specialize in commercial properties (which again, is not unique unto itself),
  3. and are committed to providing “green” services using recycled materials and low-waste systems (again, not “unique” to Jim’s but certainly a differentiator).

When assessing any one of these items alone, they do not create much differentiation at all. But combined, they start to become powerful.

Observe how, if you simply combine 1 and 2, you narrow the focus considerably. Jim’s Roofing provides commercial real estate roofing construction in Kansas City.

See how that got a bit more focused already?

Now, when you add the third element a strong differentiation statement starts to materialize: Jim’s Roofing provides eco-friendly, commercial roofing construction services to businesses in the Kansas City area.

This statement helps narrow the focus for outreach and marketing, allows people who need these types of services understand more readily that Jim’s Roofing is a great match, and creates a stronger statement on which to build interest in the business in general.

This exercise is not necessarily intended to replace the hard work required to develop one’s values, vision, and mission – the building blocks on which any great business rests – but does provide a fairly quick and effective method for creating a differentiation statement that can keep you moving in the right direction and to break through the anxiety some face when trying to come up with answers to tough questions.

Need help creating your differentiation statement? It’s a LOT easier to accomplish with a fresh perspective. Give us a shout and we can assist.