What do you think of when you hear the phrase “unfair advantage?”
Do you think of things like a referee calling the game in one team’s favor? Or maybe an athlete taking performance-enhancing substances and then breaking records and winning championships? Maybe it brings to mind knowing how to count cards at the Black Jack table, or even something like your child’s classmate getting picked for the school play because their family is close friends with the drama teacher?
An unfair advantage can be any list of things – and most of the time they actually are “unfair.”
But when we’re talking business, (specifically YOUR business) I mean something completely different. Your unfair advantage isn’t actually anything unethical at all. Instead, it is that thing that sets you apart from your competition. The thing you do so well that no else can imitate.
“I recently spoke to a group of CEOs at a business roundtable meeting and not a one of them was familiar with the term, which is not a surprise,” explained Chris McEvoy, business analyst, expert in his field, and founder of Wingspan Thinking. “In reality, the unfair advantage is the foundation for the company’s culture, its marketing initiatives, and its future direction. It is in fact the beating heart of the organization.”
So the question is – with all that being said, how do you know what your unfair advantage is?
Often our clients have trouble putting this into words. They throw out phrases like quality, experience, personality, a great team of employees and a good product. Those things are great, but they are easily duplicated, and as McEvoy explains they are essentially expectations of all competitors.
“There is not a single competitor who won’t claim the very same thing,” he said. “The unfair advantage has to rise above platitudes and expectations and focus on something unique about the company that no other company can truthfully claim.”
That’s why the question of your company’s unfair advantage deserves to be debated and honed by the people setting strategy for your company. That debate should visit the “why” of the company, the true passions of the leaders, and the concrete results that the unfair advantage delivers to your customers.
When we talk with our clients, first and foremost – we want to hear their story. Tell us how you got to where you are. Where does your passion come from? What is it about your company that makes you get out of bed every day, excited about things to come?
As Marketers, we love the story. Hearing your beliefs and business goals in the form of narrative gives us incredible insight into who you are and how you run your company. And more often than not, somewhere in that story is the answer to what your unfair advantage is – even if you haven’t defined it yet. And if you want to talk with us and let us help you flush it out, just give us a call. We love to listen – and we love to see that “Aha Moment” when our clients realize that they have just defined their own, awesome unfair advantage.