Beat all your competitors, not just the obvious

4th March 2014

Imagine you work for a bank. Who’s your biggest competitor?

Another bank, yes?

Well no, not totally. Certainly not in your customers’ eyes. After all, they don’t only compare you to other banks. Because they never go in them! They do however visit other shops. So they might compare your branches to, say, the Apple Store, WH Smiths, Starbucks and so on. And compare your website to Amazon’s.

As Disney says “our competitors are anyone who our customers compare us to”.

And it’s the same when you communicate. Your recipient isn’t always comparing you to their alternatives.

Now that’s not to say you don’t have to be more compelling than them – you do.

But it isn’t enough.

You have to compare favourably to others’ communications they’ve seen – both the business ones (eg from their leaders, your colleagues, suppliers etc) and the non-business (in the media, adverts, and so on).

And, you also have to beat what’s often the biggest competitor of all: the option of them doing nothing.

So, this is all well and good; but what’s your action here? After all, you could read this Tip as “So, what you’re saying Andy is this: you want me to be better than every communication by everyone, ever?”

Well, that might be too much of an ask! But, you could definitely be better. And, as is so often the case, one solution to improving is to learn from the people you think are brilliant.

Put another way: you might as well compare yourself to other communicators. Your audiences are.

Action point

There are three steps here:

  1. Identify 1-2 people you think communicate brilliantly (this could well be people outside your organisation)
  2. Ask yourself: “why do I think they’re brilliant? And what 1-2 traits could I adopt to make me a better communicator?
  3. Identify the first communication in which you’ll adopt these traits. After all, when you know where you’re going to start, you’re more likely to start.

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