Differentiating your business in today’s crowded marketplaces is a tough job and it’s always great to see good examples of businesses that have done it and are doing it. In my marketing presentations and seminars I talk about how 3D Businesses establish (and Demonstrate) a ‘Dramatic Difference‘ which is ‘an unmatchable bundle of products, services, skills, methods and practices that differentiate a business from its competitors’.
A great source of ‘Dramatic Difference‘ is spotting and solving customers problems – often it’s about focusing on a particular group of customers, and their needs, wants and problems.
Here are 4 great examples of ‘disruptive’ businesses that I have seen doing that recently:
1. Toy Passport – Create A Real Passport For Ted!
Put an end to your children’s worries that their best friend won’t get through customs when you go on holiday – get them a Toy Passport! This website allows your kids to create a ‘real’ passport for their teddy or doll to take on their holidays with them.
It’s great fun and easy to do… simply take a photo and upload it and then enter all the ‘personal details’ such as name, birthday, place of birth and nationality (and their signature!), choose the colour of your passport and place your order – all for £8!
2. HopSkipDrive – The ‘Uber’ For Kids!
The ‘Uber For Kids’ is a taxi service just for kids! HopSkipDrive is aimed at busy, hard pressed parents, the business “created by moms, driven with love”, was set up by three mothers in Los Angeles, and has raised over $14 million in finance since they set it up last year. Parents book the rides for their kids as young as six via an app and the drivers, mostly women, pick them up and drop them off in the appropriate place.
The drivers have to have at least 5 years childcare experience and are put through a 15 point security check, – they are forbidden from making calls or texting while looking after the kids. There are also strict vehicle security checks too.
The target is clearly busy, parents with the income to pay for things like this, and there are clearly lots of them. Thousands of families are using the service several times a week and the top 25% of customers use it several times a day. There are ambitious plans to grow and HopSkipDrive has already rolled out their services to San Francisco and the Bay Area.
3. Thomson & Scott – Disrupts The Wine World With Skinny Champagne!
Amanda Thomson is the CEO and Founder of Thomson & Scott, a brand that is disrupting the wine world. Raised on a vegetarian, no sugar diet herself, Amanda is on a mission to change the way consumers think about their wine, and has started this by bringing Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco to health-conscious drinkers across the globe! Yes, that’s wine and champagne without the sugar – ideal for people who are, or have to be on a sugar free diet.
On a quest for ‘something different’, Amanda met a champagne maker called Alexandre Penet, who made the most delicious Champagne, and discovered that he did not add any sugar at the end of the process. Instead, he added reserve wines from the family cellars that gave it a beautifully expensive flavour. She immediately saw an opportunity and she decided to bring it to the UK and call it Skinny Champagne’.
Today, she distributes it across the U.S., Canada, South Africa and many other countries, and it looks as if she’s going to continue. “Am I disrupting an industry that’s remained ostensibly unchanged for decades, if not centuries? You’re goddamn right!” she says. You can read more about Amanda’s ‘adventure’ here.
4. Obi, The Robotic Dinner Plate, Helps People Eat!
A robotic dinner plate with a human-like arm is revolutionising the lives of disabled people! Obi is a cool looking robot that makes it possible for people with impaired movement to feed themselves!
The $4,500 device includes a rotating serving dish with four compartments for different foods, as well as a robotic-arm fitted with a spoon. Obi learns where to deliver the food by a carer teaching it moving its robotic arm. After that, the robot to replicate the process and users can toggle between the different compartments and tell the arm when to feed.
“I realised there were millions of people who were extremely unhappy and frustrated with being fed or force-fed by others,” says Jon Dekar, who designed Obi while studying at the University of Dayton. It’s a great example of spotting a problem that exists for a specific ‘customer group’ and delivering a solution that solves that problem! You can read more about it here.
So, these are just examples. You probably aren’t focusing on kids, selling champagne or designing robots, but here are some questions for you to consider to help get you ‘Thinking’ in 3D‘!…
Where are the opportunities in your markets to be ‘disruptive’?
Are there any specific customer groups you’re ignoring, taking for granted, have specific issues, problems and needs that aren’t being addressed?
What ‘problems’ do your customers have that you could solve? (Hint: they may not know they have them!)
What ‘frustrations’ could you eliminate?
What could you do to be ‘remarkable’? (Focus on the things your customers ‘value’ and think important, not just what you’re good at!)
A word of warning… Your ‘Dramatic Difference’ is only any good if your customers… WANT it! RECOGNISE it! ARE PREPARED TO PAY (MORE) FOR it!