Positioning 4 of 5: What makes you different?

In the early 1900s, all brewing companies used the same word in their headlines: Purity.

There was no contrast whatsoever.

One of them was Schlitz. A company that was struggling with sales due to its lack of differentiation.

That was until they hired the legendary copywriter Claude Hopkins.

Claude went on a tour of their facilities to see what “purity” actually meant.

What he discovered, astounded him.

  • Brewing rooms had filtered air,
  • Filtering pumps and pipes were cleaned twice a day,
  • Beer bottles were sterilised four times before being filled.

“Why don’t you tell people about this?” asked Claude in disbelief.

But the Schlitz people were not impressed: “Because all companies brew their beers the same way.”

Claude smirked and replied: “Yes, but they have never claimed it in their ads.”

Schlitz followed his advice, wrote several ads explaining how they purify their beer, and in six months they became the number-one-selling beer in America.

Their Perception of You is Based on What You Tell Them

Like it or not, your communication today is your positioning. When prospects land on your website and read your headline and sub-head, they quickly make up their minds about your offer.

The rest are just “signals” that either convince them or not to trust your claim.
And it’s the same thing for your competitors.

That’s why you don’t need to put hours into competitor research to figure out how to create contrast with the market.

Simply go to their website, and analyse their headline and sub-headline.

That’s how the majority of your prospects will judge them anyways.

Once you have that, you can start asking questions like:

  • Who are they targeting?
  • What’s their process?
  • What results do they offer?
  • What guarantee do they offer (if any)?
  • What transformation do they promise (if any)?

Map out all the above and try to figure out the position for each of those competitors (spoiler: many may not have a clear position).

If you take the construction lead gen example from the last newsletter, you’ll end up with something like this:

Here, we compare the messaging from 4 of our competitors

You see how much clarity this exercise can give you?

The emphasis for most of these competitors is on the large number of leads. Bark and Checkatrade target local, homeowners, and domestic work. There’s no position covering a specific type of work (e.g. fit out for retail) and there’s nothing covering quality rather than quantity.

Then we map them out on an x and y axis to find the white space

And if we look back at the customers’ insights we collected in our last newsletter, guess what?

They want sales, not leads. And they want quality of opportunities, not quantity.

Then list out our positioning that contrasts with the competiitors

Now you can have Desirable Contrast.

Something no one else is offering that your prospects want.

You created even further contrast by being more specific:

  • Everybody VS Commercial subcontractors
  • UK VS South East
  • Data VS Qualified inbound inquiries
  • Homeowners VS Property Developers
  • Every project VS £100k+ projects
  • Thousands of unmanaged leads VS Hundreds of managed leads
  • Fixed fee VS Performance related fee
  • No guaranteed results VS Guaranteed results (on revenue and time to get revenue)

From that, we could come up with the following Positioning:

“South East vetted projects from £100K to £1M. And you only pay us when you get paid.”


A note: This article was a joint collaboration between Gianni Cara and myself. Gianni is a clear and masterful thinker when it comes to positioning. I highly recommend his newsletter (which you can subscribe to here).

Want to become a thought leader?

Every 4 weeks, I publish deep dives into B2B thought leaders, breaking down the content strategy they used to go from unknown consultant to top tier personality.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong. Give it another go.

More articles