Saturday, July 01, 2006

Be Different or Pay the Price

If you don't distinguish yourself from your competitors, your clients and customers will treat you like a commodity, marginalize you, and make decisions about your services and products based on price rather than value or loyalty.

The best way to distinguish yourself is to listen to what your clients and customers most want to accomplish (and in many cases you may need to help them define what that that is) and then help them to do it.

My friend Bruce Wright, founder of Macro Strategic Design suggests people watch the movie Groundhog Day to see how to do that. Wright explains that the movie is superficially about an obnoxious Bill Murray trying to have sex with Andie MacDowell and throughout the movie he keeps waking up to find it's Groundhog Day. The more important story and lesson is that Murray also discovers what Andie MacDowell really wants in a boyfriend. When he becomes that person, she bids and wins him in an auction in one of the closing scenes, because he has become what she wanted. What makes it a terrific movie (in the Frank Capra sense) is that he also discovers that what she wants turns out to be what he actually wants to become, i.e. a generous and caring person.

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