Whenever I start a consulting project, begin a training, or start teaching a class, I always tell my students and clients that their competitors might be their biggest allies, especially when it comes to crafting a unique value proposition. This often surprises them because we usually think of competitors as threats. After all, how many times have you hesitated to put something about your company on social media because a competitor might “steal” the idea?
The truth is, we are doing business in a time where to compete, you need to put your brand, value propositions, and ideas out in the open. Instead of fearing the competition, be grateful instead. They hold the keys to making your marketing even stronger.
Follow five competitors on their social media platforms and take time each week to figure out the overarching value proposition that they are trying to convey. Then think about which parts of that value proposition you agree with and which parts you disagree with. After that, clearly state that differentiation both in writing and in the images and video that you use. Not only does this position your value proposition away from your competitors, it also calls attention to your expertise.
Here’s an example:
I like to shop, and I follow a lot of clothing companies and boutiques online. Most companies use models to display their clothes, but one company stands out to me for doing it in a different way. This company uses models who aren’t cookie cutter to display their clothes, but they take it a step further. They often show moms doing things like feeding their children, playing at the park, rushing to take a conference call, etc. in their stylish but comfortable and casual dresses. Essentially, the value proposition being conveyed is, “Motherhood is busy, messy, and beautiful and you don’t have to wear only yoga pants to keep up with it.” Powerful. If I need an everyday dress that can withstand my days as a working mom, I look to that brand.
Why it works:
Using your competitors’ content to differentiate your value propositions works well because it helps you gain clarity on the two components that value propositions should always contain: parity and differentiation. In the above example, displaying stylish clothing is the parity. Even using models who aren’t cookie cutter is a point of parity for many modern clothing companies… but the differentiation is where the magic happens. In this case, the company speaks directly to mothers of young children, essentially saying, “Dear (specific) ideal customer, we understand what you want and why you want it… and we also understand what you don’t want.” Remember, speaking to everyone is speaking to no one.
Now it’s your turn to give it a try. 1) Make a list of five competitors, 2) Follow them on their social media platforms, 3) Note how their value proposition is similar to yours, 4) Note how your value proposition differs from theirs, 5) and highlight that differentiation in your content.