Competitive Advantage or Slick Packaging..?


The other day, I quoted Jaynie L. Smith on my Twitter home page saying that, “Without a competitive advantage, price becomes your only differentiator.”

I immediately received several messages affirming the statement… and several more expressing the point of view that such “competitive advantages” or “unique selling propositions” were nothing more than slick packaging.

And both viewpoints could be right.

I never cease to be amazed at the number of companies who don’t really understand the importance of defining and creating true differentiation of their products and services in relation to the competition. 

Instead, they simply fill their marketing communications with tired cliches that mean nothing to the buyer. “We’re Here For You!”… “Fast Friendly Service!”… “Your One Stop Shop!”… “No Job Too Big Or Small!”

Yikes! It just makes you feel warm all over… doesn’t it?

Now please understand… I’ve made my share of mistakes too. In fact, I once spent tens of thousands of dollars on a traditional ad campaign to push the claim that we were “Staffing the World… One Company at a Time!” 

Uhhh… right.  And new media often doesn’t fair much better.


As I do from time to time, I recently grabbed four websites, removed the logos, and printed them in black and white to hide any company colors.  And the results were typical. Employees and executives alike, looking at the pages… and reading the content… were unsure which were their own sites.

They all looked the same.

It reminds me of the gyrations that companies went through a decade ago to create “Mission Statements” that few believed… and fewer remembered. 

But alas… I digress.

It is a great topic, though, and one we’ll take up next. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from you.



What is the number one characteristic that sets you apart from EVERYONE else?

Does every person on your team know it?

More importantly, do they believe it?


Photo Credit:

The Wolf

2 thoughts on “Competitive Advantage or Slick Packaging..?

  1. So true. I remember spending 2 days with 12 others to make a mission statement in a past corporate job I held. And that was just for my own department. It sounded good, but I am also reminded that there is a lot of slick glossy advertising and media hype surrounding the underbelly of any large bureaucracy. Anyone remember Enron, Global Crossing, Leman Brothers, GM? Yes Steve, all that glitters is not gold.

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