Monday, January 22, 2018

What they hate about the other guy…

When you’re trying to understand what it is that sets you apart, what it is that truly makes you unique, sometimes it helps to take your brain outside of your own brand and look at your competitors. Is there one thing that people really don’t like about the way a service is traditionally offered or the way everyone else does business?

No, this is not a slag fest. It is simply a helpful exercise in getting you outside of your own eyes and into those of the primary audience you want to reach.

Want an example? Once, we were helping out a retirement home that no one really knew about. When I looked more closely at what they offered, it became clear that they offered one thing that literally nobody else in the country offered. They were a veterans home that also accepted the spouse of the veteran. When other homes accepted veterans, their wives (or husbands – and yes, that scenario did come up) could not live with them. Those facilities were for veterans only. Effectively, very long standing marriages were in a way ended when the veteran moved in for care.

Now, funnily enough, in our research, we found out that for some couples, this was just fine. Wives particularly felt they’d done their marital duties and retirement meant a break not just from house wifery but also from the man they’d married. But for many couples, the separation was very hard. And the home we were helping, at least at that time, provided that one unique service that let married couples transition to their lives in a care facility together.

So sharing the story of couples became important for all of our PR work with them. It wasn’t that we bashed anyone else, but thinking through what it was that users of elder care homes really hated about other homes lead us to one of the points that let us connect the story of our home with the media and the public.

It’s a very helpful exercise. Of course, never put down the competition to make yourself look better.  But understanding the holes and gaps in your competition’s services may well lead you to a strength or a differentiating point you didn’t even know you had.

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