Kat Casebolt, who describes herself as “The Brand Constructors Office Mom & Manager” in the construction marketing agency’s blog, takes on a topic that probably receives far less attention than it should among architectural, engineering and construction company owners and managers — one of the most important cornerstones of marketing success: If you don’t know your differentiation, then you’re already dead.
“Differentiation” — defining the unique qualities of your business as they relate to your current and potential market — is a prerequisite for marketing and business success. Unless you can achieve uniqueness in a positive sense, you won’t stand out from the crowd enough to win attention and any real competitive environment.(And if you think “differentiation” means “I can be the lowest bidder” you’ll quickly race to the bottom. If you truly are able to provide the lowest cost service that meets requirements, this may be a valid differentiator, but think of your profitability if you could both constrain your costs AND offer enough unique non-cost distinctiveness to potential clients.)
Casebolt uses some words that, unfortunately, get distorted into clichés, specifically “Vision, Value, People, Experience.” However, she rightfully observes that “these are the unique elements that make up the overall differentiation of your brand.” She adds:
Just as no two individuals are the same, neither are two construction companies, even if they are selling the same product or service. Some construction company owners have business developers and marketers that work to recognize their company differentiation and find ways to market it, while others need assistance in discovering and utilizing those defining key points. Either way, for a construction company to survive in today’s highly competitive market, they must first understand their own unique differences and how to use those to their advantage.
STAND OUT – Do something no one else is doing. When everyone else is thinking square signs, you should be thinking round.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE – Don’t take jobs just for the money; do what you are excited about, and your brand will outshine the others because it is genuine.
“Be different so that people can see you clearly amongst the crowds.” — Mehmet Murat ildan
Your differentiation review/decisions should go before any other marketing initiative, advertising strategy, webpage design or RFP response. If you really cannot stand out from the crowd (among the clients you currently and wish to serve) you won’t get very far at all in your marketing.