When you first sit down to create your business model, one of the key components you are looking for are strategic ‘unfair’ advantages. Things that will help your brand stand out from day one, and make faster connection with customers. Defining what IS a really unfair advantage for your new brand, or the brand you want to revitalise, is critical to success. Here are my top 10 really ‘unfair’ advantages for you to aim for:-
1. Personal Authority
You would expect a former PR to put this one first. But personal or expert authority is a proven advantage in building a new brand. If you, or one of your partners, can bring proven expertise to the specialism, you’re already streets ahead. Key tactics in establishing personal or expert authority include publishing a successful book, speaking tours, establishing well followed media channels such as blogs, podcasts or YouTube channels, publishing research or reports, a positive reputation established through media relations.
2. A Dream Team
Can you attract THE expert or recognised authority in the sector you want to enter? If you were creating the world’s next top film company would the dream team be Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Copola? If you were building the world’s most environmentally friendly outdoor company would it be Yvon Chouinard, Jeff Swartz and Kim Coupounas? If you were creating a new environmentally-led political party would you choose David Attenborough, David Bellamy and Bear Grylls as your Dream Team? Maybe not, but you get the idea.
3. Inside Information
If you know something the rest of the world doesn’t know, and you can let the cat out of the bag, you stand a chance to leap to the top of the charts. Knowledge is truly power.
4. Core Values Authentically Lived
You cannot underestimate the importance of clearly articulated values, that are authentically lived throughout your organisation. Not just a dry little list on your CSR page, but values your whole board and company have struggled with and committed to, that show up in every transaction, every action and every behaviour you execute. Values that resonate with the people you want to talk to. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Values + Connection = Trust. And that’s a commodity that’s in short supply today.
5. Existing Customers
Most entrepreneurs will get out and test their products and services before going fully public. Why? Because genuine testimonials and endorsements are invaluable in the process of building Trust. I have never publicly launched a new business without already having clients.
6. The ‘Right’ Celebrity Endorsements
Note the word ‘right’. We live in a world of celebrity culture. You don’t have to pay homage to it, but if there happens to be a well-known celebrity that lives your values and who buys into your brand, it’s a genuine unfair advantage. Remember that celebrities aren’t always Hollywood A-listers; celebrities in the field of human genetics might not be well-known among the general populace but if you’re looking to set up a new genetics enterprise, there will be a recognised authority in the field who has almost celebrity like status. See 1.
If you and your fellow directors, entrepreneurs, founders have already built a community around your product and service before you launch, that’s like having customers in the wings. People who believe what you believe, who will support what you’re trying to do, who understand your purpose will be a group that is ready to make connection with you, and to help you connect with others.
8. A Large Network
Can you ever network enough? Probably not. Long before you are ready to launch, start building up contacts in every area that touches your business or brand. Make sure any partners or directors bring influential networks with them. You are not who you know. You are who knows you.
9. Organic Search Ranking (SEO)
I’m not getting technical here. I’m talking about quality content. Creating and sharing information through your media channels that people find useful, informative, entertaining, necessary. Time and effort spent creating quality content is never, ever wasted.
Not all of us create products that can be patented. Perhaps it is debatable how much of an unfair advantage patents are today. They still need to be backed up with a good business and excellent marketing. But think Dyson.
So, how many ‘unfair’ advantages does your new business, brand or enterprise have?