What Makes A Company Stand Out

You’ve heard it time and time again, “why should I choose your company, purchase your product, do business with you, or pick you over someone else?” And as consumers, we find ourselves asking companies the same questions. But how do you answer the question so that they do choose your company, purchase your products, do business with you, and pick you out of all the rest?

Think about FedEx. Why did people start using them? When FedEx entered the market in 1971, they were up against the U.S. Postal Service, but they were able to differentiate themselves because they decided to offer consumers a service that no one else had before. Customers knew they had to use FedEx “When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.” FedEx also used slogans like “Our most important package is yours” and “The world – on time” to communicate their focus of punctuality and reliability, differentiators that launched their overnight shipping business into an industry category all its own.

Apple is another company that redefined technology and the way we experience it. Apple differentiates itself through their innovative product design, using a pricing strategy consistent with their products’ level of quality, providing their customers with a one-of-a-kind experience in their Apple stores, and continuing to create a brand loyalty culture unlike any other. Apple was started back in 1976, but it wasn’t until Apple launched the first iPod in 2001 that they began to transform the company and the entire music and mobile communication industry. Today you can’t turn without seeing someone holding an iPhone, looking at their Apple Watch, or answering emails on their iPad.

While both FedEx and Apple are large international companies, it doesn’t matter what size your company is when it comes to differentiating yourself. For example, at this year’s ESA (Electronic Security Association) Leadership Summit, there were companies of all sizes, from just 10 employees to hundreds of employees. Several years ago at the summit, I had the pleasure of presenting to both small and large company leaders on the topic of “What Keeps You Up at Night,” and the second focus of that discussion was “How is your company differentiating itself?” Any company can say they have great customer service, or that their business is community focused, or even that they have their own monitoring center. Your company’s differentiator could be any one of those things, but it’s not enough to just say it. You need to demonstrate concrete examples of why your customer service is the best and why people should buy from you. This is not an easy task and many companies struggle to define their differentiators, but regardless of industry or size of your business, how do you expect your organization to demonstrate how you are different if you can’t answer the question?

Can we do what FedEx and Apple did? Sure we can, but we need to be completely honest with ourselves to determine what really differentiates us. At Select Security, we’ve spent years defining and refining what can make us unique as a company. We realized that when it comes to the products we offer and the services we provide, we are no different than the thousands of other security companies out there. Where we do stand out is how we provide those products and services. We decided to put a stake in the ground, and the entire company uses that as a reflection point for providing a different and higher level of customer service. Everything we do at Select Security, from the ERP system we use, to the Gold Account program we’ve put in place, to creating and implementing Select University, ties back to that differentiator. Providing our customers with a one-of-a-kind experience drives everything that we do, including how our business decisions are made. Of course this is a work in progress and there is always room for improvement, but we are working towards excellence. We have even established metrics through our Cascade Transformation and our Net Promoter Score (NPS) in order to give concrete examples, promote what sets us apart, and stand behind those differences.

Once you can begin to differentiate yourself from the competition, you begin to define who you are. And if you’re consistent about who you are, your team knows who you are, they can tell others who you are, others understand who you are, and others tells others who you are.