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Do We Have To Be Unique … Or Relevant?

Do We Have To Be Unique … Or Relevant?

Following my previous post a friend of mine said that they would like to read something that is uniquely me and this got me thinking. What makes a business unique? Do we have to be unique? How do we create something new, fresh and different, when there is “nothing new under the sun”?

Any business, marketing and sales professional will tell you that in order to compete you must have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP); that one thing (and sometimes several things) that differentiates you from the crowd and will encourage your clients to buy from you rather than your competitors. The world of training and development is no less different.

I have been in training and people development for the past 10 years and have seen how, in its various guises, is possibly one of the most competitive industries. There are thousands of providers offering thousands of courses, programmes, e-courses, seminars, webinars, qualifications, apprenticeships, internships …… the list goes on and on! So my question is why do some businesses succeed in this highly competitive market while others struggle. This phenomenon is not confined only to training but to every industry that has and will be conceived.

Why is this?

Because of the relationships we create!

This is the ultimate form of uniqueness. No two people think and act alike. Even identical twins are unique in the way they relate to others. Establishing a relationship is the challenge, and this brings with it a huge array of dynamics that require skill, practice and understanding – of others and yourself. And to make things even more interesting we now need to understand what appeals to different generations.

Boomers, Xers, Millenials and the coming Connected Generation all want something different from the relationships they forge. Social media seems so foreign and lacking in intimacy to older generations but for younger generations it is an immediate and broader way of communicating, establishing relationships, networking and learning.

Everything has changed dramatically over the past 60 years. Consumers are different. Their needs have changed. Their preferences have morphed. A“Consumer Gen-Mutation” is continually taking place that requires different types of relationships to be formed based on the preferences of consumers.

So how do you develop your uniqueness? The trick is to be do what you would normally do in establishing a relationship and let yourself be guided. For those of you who find this a little daunting there is a simple set of guidelines to follow in this process:

  1. Create a warm feeling
  2. Be relevant
  3. Observe consumer actions
  4. Get feedback
  5. Modify your relevance
  6. Observe new consumer actions
  7. Further Feedback

The people and companies who do this best tend to stand out from the others. So do we have to be unique? Not really. Uniqueness happens as long as we are listening to our customers; responding to their needs and continually striving to be as relevant to them as possible.

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