Most businesses don’t want to focus on their weaknesses. It’s human nature, really: We don’t like to shine a light on the things we don’t do well. But when you’re looking for a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors, it may be beneficial for your branding and business to turn things on their heads. By taking your weakness and transforming it, you may be able to improve your company and give yourself a competitive advantage.
Let’s take a look at three scenarios and how it may be possible to flip the script on a potential shortcoming.
1. Reviews and Ratings
Bad reviews can be the bane of your existence, no matter what your industry. As an author, I know all too well what it’s like to check Amazon only to find a new, dreaded one-star review. It’s awful! I know when readers are considering buying my book, they’re not going to read all of the reviews. They may go straight to the one-star train wrecks instead of starting with the glowing five-star reviews.
So how on earth do you transform a lousy review into a good thing? Well, I got a call once from a professor who had read my book. He said the content was great, but what he objected to was my language. He said it was too in-the-trenches and not academic enough. A light bulb went on. I asked him to write up his review and post it, along with a one-star rating. He was puzzled until I explained my reasoning: What he disliked about my book is exactly what my readers love! He was giving me a backhanded compliment and a sales tool without even realizing it. Readers who were looking at my book could go read the critical review that mentioned the non-academic language, and they’d know my book was what they wanted. It was fantastic.
2. A Difficult Name
No one knows this struggle better than I do. My last name is Michalowicz. People have no idea what to do with it. They’re afraid to pronounce it, have no idea what nationality my name reflects and in general they just don’t want to deal with my name. That’s a problem for an author and a public speaker. My name is my brand. I could have changed it, but instead, I made it fun. My website plays with my name, and I spell it out phonetically every chance I get. (It’s mi-'kal-ō-wits, by the way.) Rather than sending potential customers away with a negative association around a word they didn’t want to mispronounce, I make it a playful part of my branding. I know it’s a difficult name, but my approach also makes it a memorable one. Once people learn how to pronounce my name, it just rolls off their tongues. And they never forget it.
When you’re selling a product that’s very expensive, you could defer questions about cost and tuck the price tag underneath (either literally or figuratively), but laying it all out in the open may be beneficial to your branding. Telling your clients that you’re proud to offer the most expensive entry in your category because your product is worth every penny may be a way to stand out from the pack. Talking about your uncompromising quality and your exceptional customer service may help your clients see that even though you’re expensive, you’re still a value. Turning your high price into a powerful asset may help make customers feel good about handing over their hard-earned dollars.
Many businesses have some type of weakness. In order to transform them into strengths, it may be helpful to identify those weaknesses first. If you’re unaware of where you’re missing the mark, it may be hard to find opportunity for growth. But when you identify your weakness and turn it into a strength, you may be able to improve your service and put yourself in an advantageous position with regard to your competition. Don’t miss a chance to stand out from the crowd.
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