The New Age of Differentiation – Part 2: Trust

In my last blog update I said there was a new competitive strategy in town – ‘The Experience’. 

Fact is, there’s a whole posse! The traditional formula for differentiating by price/quality/delivery is no longer enough. Customers expect more, and let’s face it, we really shouldn’t expect a medal for merely delivering what we’ve said we would, at a decent quality, and for a reasonable price. Sure it’s good, but it’s not differentiation. It’s meeting expectations.

So if this is where the bar is now set, what do we have to do to go beyond it? How do we stand out from the mainstream in a new age of differentiation?

I can see five distinct strategies.

The first is my previous point about creating experiences and making emotional connections.

And the second is Trust. In a world of massive commercialisation, consolidation, and impersonal delivery at scale, trust is becoming an increasingly rare commodity. So, on the rare occasions it does materialise, trust is noticeable, and valued.

I’ve talked about trust before, and the argument remains the same – trust is not some fluffy statement about caring and good intentions. In practice trust is only earned, and it comes from both capability and intent. You must want to do the right thing, and be capable of doing so.

Oh, and when push comes to shove, it tends to be capability that we prioritise. Why? Because all the good intentions in the world don’t count for much if they’re just talk. We’re all ultimately looking for outcomes.

And so this is the challenge for small/er businesses: Without the resources, marketing budgets, brand presence… of your bigger rivals, how to you evidence the weight of your capability, the provenance of your claims, the credibility of your networks, and the kudos of your experience and track record?

What are you doing to convince to your network that you not only want to, but can, do the right thing?

Next up: Part 3, ‘Collaboration‘.

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