Your customers are in a habit of doing business with someone else. Some may be ready to jump ship, while others are practically married to that brand. In either case, you must create a very appealing brand for people to give you a shot.

The reason most businesses never get a shot with the customer is because there is no distinct reason to use them above the other options. Most businesses have no reason to exist in the marketplace. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re not the only company in the world who does (fill in the blank)

Great brands focus on distinction. (Tweet this.)

Step outside of your business for a moment and ask yourself what’s the real differentiator in your business?

You can’t be another business in a crowded marketplace that offers the same thing as everyone else. Your product may be good, but is it distinct? If you have nothing different to offer people then why do you deserve a shot at their business? You don’t.

The good news is that there is always something you can do that’s different. You just have to find it. Make a list of everything your competitors never do and then do the never. You’ll instantly be distinct and have a reason you exist in the marketplace. You’ll have a differentiator that keeps people coming back for more.

Even more good news is that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel to be different. Zappos didn’t invent great customer service. Plenty of businesses before them and after them have done a phenomenal job in this department.

What they did was make sure that their customer service was different from their competitors. They didn’t have to re-invent the wheel, they just had to focus on what was going to be their differentiating factor.

Starbucks is one of the most successful brands in the world. On the surface, they sell coffee just like everyone else. But Starbucks modeled their business on the Italian coffee culture so they could create an environment and atmosphere their customers would love.

It’s not just about the coffee for them and as a result they are different than 99% of their competitors. They didn’t re-invent the wheel. They modeled something else and focused on being distinct from their competitors.

The best way to get your brand to stand out is be deliberate from the start. Figure out what makes you different and run with it. Your distinction should impact every decision about your brand experience.

Your marketing should be centered around it. The biggest threat to your business is obscurity. If your business fits in with everyone else then it is destined to fail. Distinction is not an option.

Photo by Murat