What makes you distinctive?

When new customers start working with me, one of the first things I need to do is find out what sets them apart. Sometimes, the customer already know what this is. That means we get to skip ahead a few steps.

Sometimes, though, they have no idea. If they are just launching, for instance, they may still be working out what their strongest points of distinction will be. But I have also worked with companies that have been in business for decades and still have no idea what would make someone choose them over a competitor.

That’s not the situation you want to be in. Luckily, there are endless ways to distinguish yourself from the competition – here are five.

1) Distinctive design

In the medical device world, a new take on design can be all you need. This is what one of my clients did with patient restraints for intensive care units. She saw a problem with the existing options and created a whole new approach. Her design is the solution – and it instantly makes her stand out.

2) Distinctive niche

Sometimes it’s who you help that makes the difference. For instance, a client I work with provides messaging technology for private practices, not health systems. They know that clinics are a different world than hospitals and they have built their company around addressing those needs. That means their price point, their customer service and their messaging all speak to someone in a doctor’s office rather than an academic medical center – and that makes them stand out.

3) Distinctive impact

In the non-profit world, numerous organizations can spring up that all fundraise for a specific issue. GoFundMe’s pop up all the time, along with Facebook fundraisers and quick websites. All these different groups can make it difficult for people to know who will do the most with their gift. A non-profit client of mine found a way to stand out by leading with their Centers of Excellence, which they alone had established in hospitals all across the country.

4) Distinctive mode of delivery

Another of my clients had developed an all-natural remedy to counter queasiness. They were lucky in having a lot of unique aspects to their product line but the fact that it could be administered directly by nurses (no doctor’s orders required) made it very appealing. And it made them instantly stand out from the crowd.

5) Distinctive tone

When you have a lot of competitors, sometimes it’s your voice that sets you apart. For companies that are founded by doctors, for example, it can be helpful to speak in your founder’s voice, to emphasize their medical experience. Companies can also simply choose a tone to use in their outreach. Friendly, nerdy, academic – these are all choices that can set you apart, if they speak to your customer.

Stand out from the crowd

There are numerous ways to position yourself against the competition – but they all require you to stand out from the crowd. These five ideas will make it easy to show what makes your company distinctive.