How to Identify and Leverage Your Company’s Key Differentiators

Adapted from a post by Raj Jha at Practice Alchemy There’s a cultural problem among companies, especially consulting companies: most of us label ourselves based on our practice area. As an example, in the legal profession: "I’m an estate planning attorney. I’m a M&A lawyer." Unfortunately, this kind of self-labeling does nothing to help the client understand why you’re different. It’s bad marketing.

Great brands don’t market and position themselves based only on the commodity they sell.

Yes, Starbucks sells coffee. But if you’ve read anything about their positioning, you know it isn’t all about the coffee. It’s about the place. It’s about the consistency.

How Do You Identify Your Primary Differentiator?

A. The first step is to detach yourself from the services you claim you offer clients. Enough with the generic self-labeling. B. The second step is to answer the following questions:

1. What is the personal or business benefit of working with you? I’m talking about the client’s outcome, not yours.

2. What is your unique process for taking the client on a journey from where they are to that benefit or outcome? Give each stage of that process a name.

(Before you say your process is the same as every other consultant, just remember that there’s no such thing as Venti coffee. Starbucks just called it that, so now it is something. You may be staring quizzically at your screen, wondering why you should name your process. After all, you do the work.)

But that’s part of the problem.

You can only differentiate and convey the value of your process if you break down the delivery of services into distinct stages, each of which has a purpose and a name.

If you just say, “Well, this is what I do,” you’re not offering anything unique. You’re just doing the same thing as every other consultant.

And the “same thing” is almost impossible to market.