Opinion

There's an art to standing out and it can differentiate you from competitors

7 min read

05 August 2016

While all change in your business environment begins with yourself, it’s important to know what you’re changing in response to, and how your business fits into the bigger picture.

Of course, it can be tempting for new entrepreneurs to focus their efforts firmly on their own businesses, not wanting to become unduly concerned with competitors until later in the game, and believing that their achievements will speak for themselves.

But more than ever in this digitally-driven world, business is in a constant state of progression – and that’s as true for your competitors as it is for you. By keeping clued-in, you can allow your business to truly stand out.

Develop 360 vision

If there’s one vital thing to take into the business arena, it’s a thorough knowledge of where you stand in it. This means researching your direct competitors, as well as those worth aspiring to – not to mention any up-and-coming potential competitors following in your footsteps.

Innovations catch on quickly, so smaller competitors can catch you up and overtake you in a matter of days. Get to know their brands, values and journeys intimately – and then fill in the gaps. Don’t be afraid to compare and contrast yourself with your competitors. Reading between the lines is crucial to building your own distinct brand

Does a direct competitor focus on a specific audience? Then there’s a gap for you to target the demographics that they’re not reaching out to yet! Does an industry leader maintain a strictly professional tone? Maybe your company would stand out by adopting a friendlier approach.

Expect the unexpected

The business world stands still for no man, so beware of becoming complacent! New competitors can emerge at any time, and your current competitors can pull something new out of the bag at a moment’s notice. Keep a keen eye on business news, and react to it with relevant content as soon as it breaks.

Sharing your opinion on current affairs not only keeps your brand ranking highly in online searches, but also positions you as an industry leader with opinions worth hearing.

Keeping your clients and competitors regularly informed of your own successes and ventures is similarly important – you don’t want your breaking news to be overshadowed by a competitor’s, so be reactive and get your information out there while it’s fresh!

Take advantage of social media platforms to keep keen customers updated on every step of your business journey. Remember – if your business’ online presence goes quiet for a while, it will soon be forgotten in favour of a more active brand.

Read more on competition:

Stay authentic

Keeping ahead of the game is key, but don’t get so caught up in your competitors that you end up losing your individual touch!

While your competitors may have similar financial and corporate goals to you, your unique values and passions may be your strongest suit. Make sure that your company ethos remains at the core of what you do, and present your clients with an authentic voice. Clients will pick up on the human touch, and connect with your goals on a personal level – hopefully informing their professional decisions.

Your values don’t have to remain confined to your mission statement. Let that authenticity shine throughout your content, and present yourself to your clients as trusted partners. The more quality, value-driven content you offer on your site, the more clients will consider you a go-to industry expert with their best interests at heart.

Don’t forget your clients

Once you get the hang of watching your competitors and making strategic moves to set yourself apart, the thrill of the chase can take over. It’s important not to allow competitivity to distract you from the most important way to differentiate yourself –paying close attention to your clients’ needs.

Just as the competition is always changing, so are your clients. Extend your 360 vision to take in the interests and requirements of your key demographics, and ensure that you meet those needs in a direct yet creative fashion.

As a full-service B2B events company, mdgroup is required to keep a close eye on all the industries that we serve – including life sciences and corporate events – and respond directly to the news that concerns each sector.

This not only demonstrates an awareness of the business climates that our clients operate in, but also positions us as trusted partners, able to relate to clients in a way that our competitors may not. 

Keep your partners close and your competitors closer 

Standing out in the crowd comes down to being vigilant, as much as it does being creative. By doing your research and knowing your competitors as well as you know your audience, you can ensure that your company speaks with an authentic and individual voice, and that your own innovations are well-placed to be met with success. 

Miriam Dervan is the founder and CEO of MDE Services Group

After Uber launched food delivery UberEats in June, Deliveroo has risen to the challenge with a $275m Series E investment to scale its operation.