Comparing your capabilities should lead to better competition. It should motivate us. Often, though, it just makes us miserable. You discover, for example, that there’s simply no way you can match a competitor’s price. The key component to your competing product is a specific widget – and it turns out they own the widget factory.
Comparison, they say, is a perfectionist’s best friend. It’s your friend when you’re doing better than the competition, and your enemy when your competitor can best you.
Best-selling author and business strategist Seth Godin thinks it’s not such a great idea to always be comparing yourself with what your competitor does and how they do it. “The most important comparison, in fact, is comparing your work to what you’re capable of,” he says. “Sure, compare. But compare things that matter to the journey you’re on. The rest is noise.”
Compare the Why
If we all wanted the most powerful personal computer at the best price, we would only look at computers that run on the Windows operating system. They’re blazing fast, extremely powerful, and you can buy one for just a couple hundred dollars.
Which means a company like Apple Inc. should be getting their hat handed to them. Their line of computers doesn’t run Windows, and they’re exorbitantly expensive compared to the rest of the market. As a result, Apple’s total share of the global PC market is only 7.4%. CEO Tim Cook has even said that Windows 10 is four times more popular than the Mac.
But, that’s if you focus only on the what and the how. What if you focused on your why? Or, as Marty Neumeier writes, you zag when your competitor zigs. In the marketing parlance of both Seth Godin and Marty Neumeier, what is your unique value proposition – and what if you could express it in a way that explains why you make things?
Apple isn’t interested in comparing its line of computers to the competition in terms of price. It’s not really all that concerned that other operating systems are four times more popular. Apple remains focused on why it created a computer in the first place.
Why are You Capable?
If Apple was concerned with comparing the what and the how of its computer products, it might market them this way:
- What: We make powerful computers
- How: They’re simple use, and they look nice
Instead, Apple markets their computers – as well as everything they make – by leading with why:
- Why: Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.
- How: The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly.
- What: We just happen to make great computers.
When we apply this concept to ourselves, we know we can confidently say that we can make any size vinyl pouch pocket for our customers. We’ve made them as small as 1-inch square, and all the way up to 29 inches by 35 inches.
We have state of the art manufacturing equipment and manufacture everything in-house. So, There’s no concern about missing deadlines because of overseas shipping problems. And, after 40 years of business, we have over 5,000 dies in-house. We often offer customers significant savings because we can modify and re-use these dies.
We stamp company names on all sorts of flexible packaging and retail merchandising products. These products are reflections of our company clients. They know we can be trusted to offer quality. It’s got your name on it, and we stake our reputation on it. That’s our difference. Our why. Our unique value proposition. It’s what we’re capable of.