"You can’t begin to tell a story without understanding why that story should matter to the people you want to serve. You can’t build a great business just by being different"
In Difference: The One-page Method for Reimagining Your Business and Reinventing Your Marketing, Bernadette Jiwa generously offers her well developed, yet simply accessible model for people to reimagine their businesses and reinvent their marketing to show their difference. She researched successful brands and shares a wealth of questions to ask about the difference an organization could make for their target clients, and how to unlock stories that matter.
The Big Idea
Be the best
"You must do what it takes not to just be another creative or professional, but to be the creative or professional that people who want the particular must have"
Set out to be the best at whatever it is you’re going to be. Don’t set out to be okay, or an alternate service that is slightly cheaper or just alright. Be the best. Figure out who you want to help, and what you can do to ease their pain. Be the one everyone who cares about your particular thing must have. This is hard. This is also great advice.
In February, I opened an Etsy shop to sell vintage clothes because I enjoy thrifting and have excellent thrifting luck. I also enjoy sharing my finds with people, and celebrating that I found an object they will cherish in their lives. Etsy is filled with really great vintage sellers who have been around for a long time. If I am going to make a real go at this Etsy business, I need to be the best for the people I serve. Still working on how to do that…but it’s helpful to have a “be the best” mandate instead of a “slash the prices and copy everyone else” attitude.
Promises, not features
"Because people don’t want to do; they want to be. They want to be less busy and more productive, less alone and more connected, less fearful and more safe"
So much time has been spent explaining to people the features of services and products but that is speaking to a rational buyer mind. People really want to know what is underneath the product or service, what could potentially change for them by using it. Spend more time thinking about what promises you can make, and less what the obvious features are. You need to “stand in a potential user’s shoes and understand the impact that an innovation and its design might have on that person’s life (and thus in the market)”.
Different, not quirky
"Today the shortcut to more is to matter – not to be different, but to do something that creates difference. It isn’t the person with the best ideas who wins; it’s the person who has the greatest understanding of what really matters to people."
This is scary and challenging, and also so beautiful. If in creating new products and services for people our biggest concern is understanding and improving things for other people – what a gorgeous world we could have. I was recently at a retirement party for a colleague and many of his external clients attended to celebrate his career. Everyone who spoke about him talked about how he had a “through the eyes of the client perspective”. He was known for interrupting fantastic internal planning sessions to ensure the client and their needs were being represented and respected. It made him and his clients successful. He always had their needs in mind. It was not about putting on a big show, or being flashier than the competition, it was about making a difference.
Bernadette Jiwa’s book is slim at just 79 pages, but it is full of such deep and important questions. The book features samples of successful companies’ difference maps and how they answered some of the questions she asks throughout the book. It is a fantastic resource for people and organizations interested in success and making a difference.
Thinking about the people you serve (or would like to serve) can you identify one thing you or your company could be doing to make a difference in their lives? What would it be?