Sunday, December 9, 2012

Who are you?

One of the biggest challenges for any professional service business is figuring out how to be different.  Engineering consulting faces this challenge in particular.  How do you stand out as a unique offering in the marketplace.  Pete Townshend of the rock group The Who asks the key strategic question that firms need to address -  "Who are you?  Who, Who, Who, Who?"

Josh Miles has an excellent book, Bold Brand, that should introduce most engineers to the art and science of professional service branding as a key subset of marketing.  Chapter Four - Positioning and Differentiation has a collection of thought provoking and insightful questions and exercises.  These are:
  • How do you look different and sound different from you competition?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What do you believe?
  • Who are you, really?
  • Has a client ever ask - - "I didn't know you guys did that?"
  • If your dream client walked into your office while you were on vacation, would your team know what to do with that person?
  • In the era of constant change, positioning is constantly in need of attention.
  • Do you target specific demographic or psychographic profiles?
  • Do you see anything unique about the "mission" of the company?
  • How does your organization make the world a better place?
  • Who does your company benefit?
  • Who would miss you if your organization disappeared?  Why should anyone care?
  • What is the one thing that you do better than anyone else?
  • What are you the best at in your market or region?
  • What words does your company use to describe its services?
  • Complete the following - - "We are the only (blank) in (blank) that does (blank)."
  • If your organization was a car brand, which make/model would it be?
  • Make your competition invisible by getting out of their business - - niche positioning doesn't limit your market - - it expands it.
  • If you're doing something different, be sure you look and sound different.
  • Is your firm communicating you position with a megaphone of a wedge?  If you lead with the blunt side of the wedge, there's impact for sure, but it's too broad of an angle to ever pierce your audience's armor. 

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