What’s going to make you stand out?

What's going to make you stand out?

I’ve had a couple of conversations over the last couple of weeks that have concerned strategy, what it is and what businesses and/or people need to do to get a good one.

The first conversation was with my friend, Mark, who was telling me about a corporate client of his that was bemoaning the fact that he had just had some feedback from colleagues and managers that said he was not being ‘strategic enough’.

‘What does that mean?!’, he asked Mark.

The second conversation was with a legal client of mine that was asking about what they need to do to stand out in front of their clients and in the marketplace.

A clear strategy. Right?

To explain what this means, Mark told me that he sent his client the following video (It’s only a minute and a half long or so and if you can get over Porter’s style then it’s really good):

What do you think?

If you have never read any of Michael Porter’s stuff on strategy then I would advise you to ‘google’ it and start reading but, I think, the video is a great summary of what it is ‘to be strategic’ and what it is going to take to ‘make you stand out’.

Porter summarises it as:

  • How are we going to be unique;
  • How are we going to have an advantage; and
  • How are we going to sustain that advantage over time.

Not getting the results that you want? When was the last time that you asked yourself and your business the questions above?

Thanks to Cameron Cassan for the image.

8 comments On What’s going to make you stand out?

  • Pingback: Adrian Swinscoe ()

  • Pingback: Adrian Swinscoe ()

  • I think that is succinct and to the point — and thanks to Mark for pointing it out to you.

    If you are not different, if you do not stand out then whats the point.


    • Hi Michael,
      Indeed but I think the key thing for me here is not just how you are going to be different but how you are going to sustain that difference. Too often companies find a point of difference and then do very little to sustain that competitive position.


  • Great post Adrian, establishing and understanding points of clear competitive separation, particularly those that put you in brand new space, can make all the difference in the world, literally life or death for a business.

    • Hi Matt,
      Thanks you for your comment. Do you not think the danger with much strategy is that it focuses too much on ‘new’ spaces and forgets about continually assessing where we currently are?


  • Adrian,
    Mr Porter’s points are so true. I wrote a post (http://bit.ly/fp15UI) on this topic and I believe there are only 3 main strategies a company to take, and perhaps creating a hybrid from the 3 you can have other choices, regardless, the field of choice is narrow. What isn’t narrow are the ways in which you choose to achieve your strategic initiative, as Michael clearly stated. Most people confuse tactic with strategy.


    • Hi Bill,
      The strategies that you highlight in your post are close to what Porter believes are the only real strategies open to a company and you are right that often companies confuse tactics with strategy. The challenge that I have with that framework is that traditionally differentiation has been associated with better levels of service and customer focus and not cost leadership. However, I think cost leadership and better service can live together. What do you think?


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