Finding or creating a uniqueness is hard enough all by itself.
But how can your small business create a stunning uniqueness as well as defend it mightily from your competition? Tah, dah, you bring on the power of difficulty, both for you and for them. What's the power of difficulty? Find out in this episode that will immediately give you the chance to get ahead of your competition, especially in a noisy marketplace.
Imagine for a second that you didn't want to buy a notebook.
I know I didn't.
Like you, I have quite a few notebooks lying around. I also have a lot of paper. And let's not forget that I can take notes on my computer and the iPad. In short, who really needs a notebook? Well, the guys at Studio Neat totally ignored this lack of need and decided to put out a notebook called Panobook. One look at Panobook and you suddenly feel the need for a notebook. And like any product or service, this notebook has many many features and benefits.
Which is where the root of all uniqueness trouble lies, doesn't it?
Whether you set out to write a book, create a course, or manufacture a notebook, your offering is going to have many features and benefits. And marketing tells us repeatedly that we need to create a factor of uniqueness, because it's the uniqueness that makes a product or service stand out. But how do we create uniqueness that can't be easily ripped off?
For this we have to start by looking at the features and benefits of the Panobook.
– The page size is panoramic at 11.34 x 6.30 inches. That's approximately the same size as a small sized keyboard.
– It has a subtle dot grid. The grid enables you to draw shapes on a page, almost perfectly without the need of a ruler.
– Guide markers (again subtle) that that make it easy to quickly draw three rectangles on the page, sized ideally for smartphone UI design or storyboarding.
– You can write on them with many different types of pens, without smudging or bleeding.
– Made robust wire-o binding, which allows the notebook to sit flat when opened. But also you can tear out a page, if you don’t like how it looks.
– Panobook comes with a slip case, which is meant to be the final resting place for your notebook. You can write on the spine to catalogue the notebook.
This list of six prominent features and benefits means we have six potential uniqueness elements in place
But will these benefits and features assure the creators of the product a high level of success? If it's relatively easy to copy the product or service, a competitor would step in and take away your high vantage point. But can we make it a bit difficult for those nasty buggers? Let's take a look and see what's possible.
We need to evaluate how “difficult it will be for the competition to copy” your idea.
What's impossible, or seemingly impossible in your field? Or if you're dealing with a product or service, what seems to be out of the reach for both you, and your competition?
Most of us know how Domino's Pizza came to dominate the pizza industry.
Their slogan of “30 minutes or it's free” was a level of difficulty that was almost impossible for the competition to quickly overcome. The same kind of uniqueness seems to be inbuilt into a Tesla car or truck.
The Tesla Roadster quickly put the brakes on the competition because of the range: it can go about 400 miles without needing to charge. The long range trucks can go 500 miles, which means that (at least in the U.S) a truck can go to their destination and back, without needing to stop for a charge.
Which is all very fine for a big company like Domino's and Tesla, but what about you and me?
A few years ago, we realised that our goal at Psychotactics wasn't necessarily to give the client more information. We noticed that we were able to give them skills, instead. This immediately ramped up the level of difficulty on two fronts. First, we promised that every course or workshop wouldn't focus just on information, but solely on skill.
That once you finished the cartooning course, you'd have the skill to cartoon. If you went through the information products course, you'd be able to create not just any information product, but one that clients would be eager to consume. Making such a seemingly ridiculous claim makes it very difficult for the competition to follow.
However, in many cases you don't need to go out on a limb
Most products or services tend to be fairly similar. A course, a membership site, a book, a law service—they're all similar. However, if you reduce the number of components, you can almost always guarantee a specific result. Take for instance the Headlines Report on the home page of the Psychotactics site.
When you sign up for the newsletter, you get the report. But what does the report guarantee? It guarantees that in under 10 minutes, you'll be able to write three different types of headlines. Now that kind of promise isn't hard for the competition to copy, but even so, they may not be in a position to do so right away.
When Domino's Pizza made their offer, no one was able to get their pizza across in record time. Today, it would be possible to create a system that allows for competition to deliver a speedy pizza. Nonetheless, it allowed Domino's to enjoy a huge honeymoon period even as the competition tried to catch up—if they tried to catch up at all.
The Panobook is an example of many features and benefits, but what's the difficulty factor?
It's panoramic, has this extremely useful dot grid, doesn't smudge or bleed because of the great paper quality, can site flat when opened, and has a slip case to catalogue the book. But where's the difficulty factor?
What if the competition decided to copy the very same kind of book? If I were the creator of the book, I'd pick the “blotting factor”. So many of us use different types of pens, that you'd want a book that can take almost any pen. I have almost no problem with the Panobooks (and good thing too because I think I bought about 15 of them) but if you look at the reviews online, people like the books, but have a problem with the smudging.
What can you do today to create a level of difficulty?
What seems impossibly difficult in your field? Can you make a list? And what if you tried to solve that problem by making it your uniqueness? That's what you and I need to do whenever we're creating a product or service.
Your steps would be:
Step 1: List your product/service
Step 2: What's seemingly impossible?
Step 3: How do you make it possible?
Step 4: Can others easily replicate this uniqueness?
Step 5: How do you get the word out?
Let's take an example before we come to the end of this article. Let's take 5000bc for instance.
Step 1: The name of the product is 5000bc
Step 2: The factor that's impossible is for you, the client to get an answer, or even better a detailed answer from the owner of the site, when you need it.
Step 3: What makes it possible? I, as the owner of the site, need to be available to answer the questions on a consistent basis.
Step 4: Can others easily replicate this uniqueness? Not at all. In fact, owners are too busy on other projects. For them to replicate this uniqueness they'd have to change their entire business model and time allocation plans.
Step 5: We get the word out through articles, through podcasts and through presentations.
And there you have it.
The difficulty factor of creating uniqueness.
Wasn't so very hard, was it?
Try it and let me know how you go.