“But…All the Differentiators Are Taken!”

“But…All the Differentiators Are Taken!”

It’s one of the common refrains I hear when doing branding consulting with small businesses and entrepreneurs: How can I differentiate my business when all the good positions are already taken?

I usually rattle off some one-thing value propositions from the world of sub sandwiches: You know, Subway differentiates on fresh; for Cousin’s it’s the bread; for Jimmy Johns it’s speedy delivery (“Freaky Fast”); for Quizno’s it’s “toasted”. And on it goes.

What’s relevant to your target market? What is a pain point your business can provide to customers?

Another example from the world of food service is pizza. It seems there are almost endless ways to create preference for prospective customers by focusing on your greatest strength. While the market is quickly changing (Dominos, after all, recently dropped pizza from its name while it extends its value into chicken, sandwiches, and other non-pizza offerings), the idea is the same.

What brought Dominos to the dance was delivery. “Delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free.” For Papa Johns, it’s fresh ingredients. Pizza Hut owns the dine-in family market. Papa Murphy’s co-opted the take-and-bake position. And for good ol’ fun for the kiddies, you can’t beat Chuck E. Cheese. And on it goes.

Surely, in the pizza space, all the good differentiators are gone. Or are they?

Along comes Blaze Pizza.

Blaze Pizza, similar to the customization model of a Chipotle or Subway, allows customers to build pizzas choosing from seven cheeses, eight proteins, 20 vegetables, and three sauces. The pizzas are then baked in a wood fire oven for about three minutes. Cool. Different.

Struggling with your differentiator? Look at other business types. What lessons can you learn from Blaze, who already has 50 restaurants in place and is looking to disrupt the pizza space with an audacious goal of taking over America? Your business can do the same.

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