August 2017

Delight Your Customers: Be a Sock-Knocker-Offer

2017-08-19T19:45:52+00:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

Have you ever wished someone… Or perhaps someone has offered you the words of encouragement… “Knock their socks off!”

It means to wow or amaze someone. To go beyond what is expected.

The saying originates from boxing – when you bop your opponent so hard, you nearly knock them out of their socks.

No Socks
Unfortunately – and far too often – experiences are delivered short of expectations.

  • The meal was tasty, but the service was slow.
  • The camera takes great pictures, but the battery doesn’t last very long.
  • I’m having trouble with my credit card – luckily they have a 24-hour service number. When I called it, the recording said it would be a 32-minute wait.

I’m sure you have many similar examples.

As a customer – we love to have our socks knocked off. And, the good news as a marketer, business owner, or customer experience manager is that customers rarely expect it.

However, fixing the restaurant service, creating a battery power system that works, or properly staffing customer hotlines is NOT knocking someone’s socks off. Those actions are simply doing your job… Delivering what you’re supposed to deliver.
Sock-knocking-offing goes beyond.

To knock their socks off, you provide more than the required “AND” – you go beyond with two or three ANDs.

  • The food was great, AND the service was very friendly, AND they knew it was our anniversary AND treated us to free wine and a dessert.
  • With this camera, it is easy to take great pictures, AND the battery lasts forever, AND it came with a cleaning kit and case.
  • The credit card company has a hotline, AND it is open 24-hours, AND you immediately reach a human.
    Here… try to complete the below sentence, and see for yourself.

“We provide ________________ AND ________________, the full experience for our customers. We don’t stop there, however… AND we ________________. That’s how we knock their socks off.”

Is your company being a sock-knocker-offer? Are you doing both part one AND part two – the necessary requirements? Do you go beyond with more than one AND?

May 2015

It Pays To Be Different

2017-08-19T17:55:38+00:00 Categories: Sand for Your Inbox, SandBlog|Tags: , , , |


Differentiation has become one of those marketing buzz words we hear too often. So frequently, the term seems to have lost its meaning. Nevertheless, it is a fundamental concept.

I prefer the term “remarkability.” Doing the things that cause people to make remarks about you – literally being remarkable.

There’s a great quote in the book Do Purpose: Why Brands With A Purpose Do Better And Matter More. Author, David Hieatt wrote…

Be Remarkable.
(People Don’t Remember Average)

Let’s take a look at why being remarkable is so important and why it pays to be different.

You: Serving Customer Needs

So here you are… offering your product. Doing what you do well and providing customers what they want. Sales are high. Everyone is happy. You own the market for your product or service.

We’ll give that a happy check-mark.

It Pays To Be Different: Serving Customer Needs

You & Competition: Serving Different Customer Needs

Next, we have a situation where you provide customers Product A, and your competition is providing Product B. For example, you offer Italian food, your competition offers French cuisine. Sure, you’re both in the restaurant business, but catering to different taste preferences.

So, you both do well.
It Pays To Be Different: You & Competition Serving Different Customer Needs

What is interesting about this situation is that we have been experiencing a trend where – instead of being happy with specialization – brands are expanding offerings to try to take business away from the competition.

Olive Garden hops on the burger trend with an Italiano Burger. Dairy Queen serves a quesadilla. Subway offers “Flatizza” pizza. And, Taco Bell – not wanting to miss out on the morning daypart – offers breakfast including a waffle sausage taco.

It Pays To Be Different: Fast Food Bandwagon

I understand the concept of increasing sales by expanding offerings to appeal to a broader audience. But, if customers aren’t going to come to you for your specialty, they probably won’t be attracted by something that isn’t your core competency.

Copying your competition is the opposite of trying to be different and remarkable. These are bandwagon offerings – making you fit in, be more similar.

Few of us are running a business where we are the only provider of a particular product or service. We are offering things that are popular, and we’ve got competition.

(And, if you are the first to the market – and there is a demand – competition is coming.)

You & Competition: Same Product / Same Customers

Now we’re in a situation where the customer has a choice in getting what they want from more than one provider who does it well.

Customers have a choice between you and your competition. The result will be a reduction of your sales.

Hmmm? What to do? This requires a question mark in our diagram.

It Pays To Be Different: You & Competition: Same Product / Same Customer

So, now what?

The best way to attract customers and prevent them from going to your competition is by offering, being, or doing something different… To be remarkable and provide value in a way that your competitor isn’t and can’t.

Be The –EST, not the –ER

Let’s say you’re in the restaurant business. We recommend you find a way to be the –EST in what you do, not the –ER. Here’s an example.

Your competition…

  • Is fast.
  • They’ve got a menu that’s tasty.
  • They’ve got service that’s friendly.

You could make your business “-ER” by being…

  • faster, tastier and friendlier than your competition.

However, if you’re going to make the effort, instead of simply trying to complete what they do, you should beat what they do.

If you’re going to stand out and be remarkable, make yourself the…

  • fastest, tastiest and friendliest.

Being the –EST gets you noticed and differentiates you, from your competition, in the mind of your customer.

We’ll put a star in that spot!

It Pays To Be Different: High Differentiation

By being different, by being remarkable, you can differentiate yourself from the competition. You are no longer offering the same thing, and customers will be able to notice the difference.

So, being different truly does pay!

Oh, by the way… this article was first posted as an article in our free Sand For Your Inbox newsletter. Maybe you want to subscribe and get articles like this sent directly to your inbox?

January 2013

Starbucks: Trying To Be All Things, To All People

2013-01-25T13:39:24+00:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , |

I saw this ad today on Facebook, for Starbucks Blonde Roast Coffee. *sigh*

Starbucks Blonde Roast

In addition to being awkward to order:

“I’d like a tall blonde with whip, please.”

It isn’t helping Starbucks be remarkable, or stand out… It is causing them to blend in.

What made Starbucks remarkable

A secret to Starbucks success was their dark roast. It was a polarizing flavor – back in the day. You either learned to like their strong bold coffee, or you called the coffee burnt and referred to the company as Charbucks or Tarbucks. You preferred the traditional East Coast coffee we were used to – with milk and sugar – from McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Once you got used to that dark flavor, it was hard to go back to a cup of Dunkin’ or 7-Eleven. That was Starbucks “thing.”

Starbucks took coffee – a commodity – and made it a specialty. It was the best and the tastiest. Starbucks was remarkable.

And it worked. Proof? Today 7-Eleven, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts – and all the rest – offer bold coffee and espresso-based beverages.

The problem with your competition catching up to what you’re doing is, in the eyes of the customer this potentially creates “parity.” A situation where there isn’t enough perceived difference between one product and another to drive preference. When there is perceived parity between products, but price is dramatically different, this creates a problem for your company.

“Gosh, I can get my McMuffin at McDonald’s and their coffee is bold too. And, it is cheaper. Hmmm why don’t I just get my breakfast and coffee at McD’s? I’m lovin’ it.”

What should Starbucks do / have done?

1. Focus delivering the highest quality, hand-crafted product. (Small batch steamed milk, highly-calibrated grinders, freshest roasted coffee).

Which they have focused on.

2. Create ways to break that parity – differentiate – by making customer service so stellar… so gold standard… so awesome… it makes every penny the customer spends more than worth it. Thus, increasing perceived value and staying remarkable.

Which they haven’t done.

Instead of differentiating, they’ve made Starbucks even MORE similar to McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts by offering a light-roast Blonde coffee.


Starbucks perceives themselves as “leaving money on the table” with all those customers who don’t come to Starbucks and prefer lighter roast at places like Dunkin’.

The myth is… by offering more, we create a bigger net and catch more customers.

The reality is… when you try to be all things to all people, you no longer represent anything specific. You’re no longer remarkable, but common. Customers don’t know why they should specifically come to you. And, if you’re as good or the same as the next place… customers may as well choose the next place.

Starbucks is no longer about great, dark coffee. They have taken their coffee specialty and made it again a commodity.

So now, their strategy, like McDonald’s, you choose Starbucks not because it is the best and tastiest, but because it is convenient.

Bummer. (p.s. Starbucks leadership… there is still time!)

Image source:

July 2012

Cupful of QR Genius From Guinness

2012-07-18T20:27:49+00:00 Categories: create, SandBlog|Tags: , , , , |

Some years ago, I enthusiastically reported on the optical illusion coasters created by BBDO New York for Guinness brand beer. They were a low-tech way to create conversation and engagement with the product.

Guinness Glass

Here we are again with a product-activated higher-tech idea. When Guinness is poured into a specially marked glass a QR (Quick Response) code is revealed.


AdWeek reports, when you scan the code with a smartphone it “tweets about your pint, updates your Facebook status, checks you in via Foursquare, downloads coupons and promotions, invites your friends to join you, and even launches exclusive Guinness content.”

What’s sneaky is that a golden colored beer won’t work, it’s gotta be a dark beer like a Guinness.


And, they thought of everything… you can’t engage in the social media tools by scanning what you see here… it takes you to an unused URL. Despite my efforts to find a photo of an glass in use on the interweb, I had no luck.

Thanks AdWeek and Rebecca Murtagh the @VirtualMarketer

@BBDONY | @GuinnessIreland | Images from AdWeek.

January 2011

A Day To Remark About

2011-01-27T15:52:33+00:00 Categories: SandBlog, solve|Tags: , , , |

For those of you who were able to make it to today’s What’s Next DC Conference… Thank you for coming! I’m glad I was able to meet some of you, and wished I had the chance to meet more of you.

Please contact me if you’re interested in talking more about remarkability and standing out among your competition. (of course this applies to those who did *not* attend today’s conference, too!)

Whether you could make it today or not, I’m posting my presentation with narration so you can get a re-cap of what I said, from the comfort of your own computer! Or hear it for the first time!

Oh, here’s the link to the live Twitter feed we posted. If you click on it, it will play the day back for you! Great comments! Enjoy…

What’s Next DC Live Twitter Feed Page (#whatsnextdc)

In the mean time, enjoy this series of articles I’ve written featuring ‘next’ practices on being remarkable from some great authors.

April 2010

Be Remarkable Via Pricing Strategy

2017-03-01T11:56:12+00:00 Categories: create, grow, SandBlog|Tags: , , , , |

Being the first, the best, or the only one doing something (and in a way meaningful and relevant to your customers) is a strategy your company can use to stand out from your competition.

Something that is relevant to all your customers is how they compensate you for your products or services. Adding a spin to the way they pay may be a way to help your business be remarkable.

Most of us heard about the restaurant* that offered “‘pay-as-you-wish” pricing? There are no prices, and the waiter doesn’t bring you a bill. At the end of the meal, you simply leave what you feel the meal was worth. “Pay as you wish”‘ as an idea wasn’t new, but it was in a restaurant atmosphere.

Many “new” ideas are simply existing ideas combined in non-traditional ways. Old ideas remixed to form new ones.

*The pay-as-you-wish restaurant concept may not be that successful, seems I should have learned and remembered the name of the restaurant that started it. Yet, being remarkable doesn’t mean you have to be world famous. You only need to be memorable enough to be the stand-out choice from among your potential customers’ choices.

Methods of Payment to Explore

Below is a list of common (and not-so-common) payment methods. Apply these to your business, and create a new approach that allows you stand apart from your competition.

Some of these may have more technical names than what I’ve dubbed them. Please correct me in the comments section below.

Per Hour/Day (Increments)

Your company pays you every two weeks. Military personnel receive monthly payments. The plumber charges by the hour.


The management company charges you a month’s rent upfront when you sign your apartment lease. They use this money to pay for any damage you might have caused to the apartment during your stay. It also prevents tenants from skipping town and breaking

Fixed Amount (Excess Pays More)

I have an allowance of 300 instant messages per month on my phone. After 300, I pay on a per-IM basis.

When you lease a car, the contract limits the total number of miles you can put on the car. The dealer wants to make sure the car can be leased again after you return it. If you exceed the allocated mileage, you pay a premium for that extra use.

Soft Pricing (Negotiable)

Though one could argue that all pricing is negotiable, I’m talking about the type pricing you especially find in international markets and swap meets.

If you pay the posted price for that leather jacket in Florence or for that Mickey Mouse gum ball machine at the old Drive-In Swap Meet, you’re a sucker. The process includes their making you a stupidly high offer, and you countering with an equally low offer, and the final price somewhere in between.


Instead of money in exchange for services or goods, you pay with services or goods. The local printer will print your flyers for free if you help her with her marketing plan.

Bandwagon/Economy of Scale

The more you buy, the lower the price. You can order 1,000 business cards at a cheaper per unit price than for 500. There is a new product/invention site where the price of newly invented products reduces as the total quantity is ordered.

Custom vs. Off the Shelf

It comes in white, black, or silver. That’s it. You can pay more to have a red one if you want. Heck, you can have it any color you want if you’re willing to pay for it.

With D.I.Y. (do it yourself) being back in style, you can have someone hand-craft a messenger bag to hold your laptop. Compared to a mass-produced store bought item, the bag could:

  • be cheaper because it is made by a local crafts person who charges for materials and a bit of labor. (They make these because they enjoy it; they made them with love).
  • cost you an arm and a leg because it is one of a kind and hand-crafted from special leather by artisans from exotic locations.

Generic vs. Branded Pricing

An item is priced more cheaply because it is a generic brand, not a name brand. Store or generic brands are less generic as they used to be. (I think stores have learned they can drive incremental sales and charge more than generic and still less than name brands by offering “store brands.”)

Back to the car example: Top tier luxury cars are expensive and generally constructed with the same priced, quality materials, yet prices can differ by tens of thousands of dollars because you pay for the logo, the brand.

Privilege Fee (Because We Can/Opportunistic)

I’m not a fan of this one, but it is common. For example, I have a cat, and not only is the management company for my apartment charging an initial pet deposit, but also monthly pet rent. The company charges us $25 more a month to keep a cat in the apartment. Why? Because they can.

Points/Credit Systems (Custom Currency)

I love companies who give employees benefits as a flexible point package. An employee has 50 benefit credits to spend. They can distribute them among medical, dental, vision, sick days, or vacation days as they choose to support their needs.

You don’t wear glasses? Why pay vision coverage you won’t use? Use those points toward more dental coverage for your braces. Reward the healthy by allowing them to put unused sick days toward vacation days.


The store holds the product for you and removes it from the sales floor so no one else can buy it. You pay the store in installments, and when you’ve paid the total balance, you can take possession of the item.

One Time Set-Up Fees

My printer will make a custom die-cut for my funky shaped brochure. That first order will be expensive. Thereafter, any time I need more brochures printed, they will be less expensive.

In Bulk/Per Unit (Parts)

In Bulk: Warehouse membership stores (Sam’s Club, Cosco, etc.) is where you can save a bundle on per-unit pricing. That assumes you need a two-gallon of mayonnaise or a year’s worth of razor blades. It’s cheaper to buy bulk foods (out of those plastic bins) than to pay for the pre-packaged, advertising items.

Per Unit: While traveling, I forgot my iPhone charging cord at home. When I went to the local Apple retailer, they had a jar of cords and of ear phones at the counter. How smart is that? I didn’t need to buy a whole kit … just the separate part. (They offered them in bulk, come to think of it).

One Part Free/One Part Fee

Give the razor blade holder away for free, charge for blades. Give me the Kindle e-book reader for free, charge me for the books. Charge me less for my latte when I bring my own re-usable cup. It is good for the environment and reduces the cafe’s cost of goods.

Cut / Percentage/Commission / Tips / Incentive

Your sales person makes commission based on how many qualified leads they bring in. Restaurant staff in North America is awarded tips for itsr service. The electronics store is offering a pizza party to the store that sells the most TVs this month.

Free Trial/Free Trial With Limits or Catch

Free trial is a great way to reduce risk for the customer. Test driving a car or trying on those earrings are methods that allow us to try before we buy. A secret of those selling jewelry is that they know if you “try it on” (sample/trial) you start to imagine that object in your life. Trying it on increases the chance of purchase. Once they get you behind the wheel of that car, you see it as yours.

I’m not a fan of the 30-day free trial that automatically activates if you don’t cancel. It is presented as a no-risk, “we are doing this so you have the convenience of keeping it if you like it.” More often than not, the vendor counts on you to forget to cancel and become a customer by default.

Automatic Renewal

You opt into automatically opt having a product/service renewed at the end of the payment cycle. The magazine will automatically charge your credit card, and you won’t “miss an issue.”

Though pitched as a convenience for the customer, I’m convinced this is more about reducing the risk of customers dropping out if faced with the decision of re-entering their credit card to make yet another purchase.

Scarcity, Access Based/Seasonality

Scalpers make a killing selling last-minute tickets to desperate concert-goer-wannabes.

We used to pay more for fruit and vegetables that were out of season. To get fresh strawberries in the winter used to be a miracle.

However, now that we’ve made the world smaller with fast transportation modes, you can have nearly any food at nearly any time of the year. And hotels also have seasons; it is cheaper to stay in the hotels during off-season/non-tourist season.

Or Best Offer (OBO)

A classic pricing method for yard and tag sales. That TV is going for 50-bucks … or best offer. OBO can turn into an auction situation.

Per Project/Value-Based/Scope-Based

As a consultant, I haven’t charged a per-hour rate. I charge per project. I work with the client’s specific needs to determine the right price for the scope of the specific project.

I would charge more to help them develop plans for a $20 million than a $20 thousand project. Clients pay based on the value of the project.

Subscription (Magazines)

A yearly fee gives you access to a fixed number of installments. Magazines. Netflix. Jelly-Of-The-Month Club.

I pay an annual fee to Amazon to be a “Prime” member, which allows me free shipping. This makes buying from Amazon less costly than chain bookstores.

Per Person (Admission)

We buy tickets to the movies, sports events and conferences this way.

Auction (Highest Bidder)

Traditional auctions and eBay demonstrate this model. Low demand, your price is low. High demand, and those who really want it, have to pay for that right.

Per Idea (Quantity)

Brainstorming remarkable ideas can be like looking for a pearl in oysters. The more oysters you shuck, the more you increase your chances of finding a pearl. Why not charge clients for the total number of quality ideas generated? More ideas equal more pearls.

Pay When Service Is Not Needed (Insurance)

We pay a monthly premium to protect ourselves from car damage, from something being stolen, from getting sick. While it seems costly, it pays for itself when used.

Based on Return (ROI)

Charge your clients based on the results they gain from your products and services. If the ad agency’s radio ads helped me generate x amount of business, they get x% in payment. This is an incentive for them to push for your success.

All You Can Eat (All You Can Consume)

$19.95 all you can eat buffet. My mobile phone provides me with unlimited data as part of my plan.

By Weight

We buy produce, meat, and fish this way at the grocery store.

The Price Is Right

When someone is willing to sell something if the right price is named. Your neighbor (who doesn’t really want to move) puts their $1 million house on the market for $1.2 million. If someone is willing to pay that, they’ll sell!

Different Combinations / New Ideas

  • Could a bookstore charge by weight? Or offer a book of the month club. One price, and for twelve months I take any book I want.
  • What if the plumber charged by the job instead of by the hour? By value? Stopping a pipe from flooding your house is worth more than unclogging a drain.
  • A PR firm who charges when there wasn’t a crisis? You pay them only if things were going well. This is incentive for them to do things regularly to keep your business in good shape.
  • What if Weight Watchers charges me only when I’m losing weight. If I’m gaining, something’s not working.
  • What about combining subscription with all you can eat? (We do this for a gym membership; one price gets you free access). As a member, I pay a once-a-year membership to a restaurant chain. In return, I receive a card that allows me unlimited, free items.
    • At Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill And Bar, the program would allow unlimited meals. (Drinks cost extra.)
    • At Starbucks Coffee, I get unlimited drinks, of any size, anytime I want. (Food items costs extra.)
    • Maybe the movie theater can charge a one time fee for access to a year’s worth of movies. Who goes alone? Who doesn’t buy popcorn and treats at the refreshment stand?
  • Back to the buffet. What about charging by weight? Weigh me when I enter the restaurant, and charge me by how heavy I am when I leave? (I’m sure if someone tried this, during end-of-the-day clean up, staff would find rocks and weights hidden in the restaurant from people sandbagging their initial weight.)

Closing Challenge

Is there a way for your company, with a change in pricing strategy, to be the first, the best, or the only? What other clever payment schemes have you encountered?

This article was originally published on the Marketing Profs DailyFix Blog.

August 2009

Be THE, not A

2017-03-01T11:56:22+00:00 Categories: grow, SandBlog|Tags: , |

So you are…

  • …A marketer.
  • …A sales person.
  • …A blogger.
  • …A [_ _ _ _ _ _ _].

But is that settling?

Why be A, when you could be…

  • …THE marketer?
  • …THE sales person?
  • …THE blogger?
  • …THE [_ _ _ _ _ _ _]?

There is a BBQ rib chain in the U.S. that bills themselves as “A Place for Ribs.”* If you wanted to take your family out for a great rib dinner, why would you choose to go to A place? A place is just one of many… Why not head to THE place for ribs?

“A” is random. “A” is generic. “A” is one of many. “A” is adequate.

“THE” is singular. “THE” is specific. “THE” is the only. “THE” is expert.

  • Do you want A (one of any) babysitter to watch your children, or THE (best) babysitter?
  • When your hard drive crashes, do you call seek A computer tech person, or THE computer guru?!
  • Do you want your hair cut/styled by A (random) stylist? Or THE (master) stylist?
  • Does your boss put A marketer on the big holiday promotion? No it goes to THE marketer.

You get THE point!

Being THE is about being remarkable. By being THE, you are standing out tall above the crowd.

So, I’ll ask again… are you A or THE?

More on Remarkability

So you want to be THE?

Here is a collection of blog posts from the Idea Sandbox blog featuring authors and their take on how to be remarkable. Enjoy!

*(I could have sworn they were once “THE” place for ribs, but I can’t find any proof of that online.)

June 2009

Tips For Creativity & Problem Solving: “Live In PLAY” Interview

2017-03-01T11:56:28+00:00 Categories: grow, SandBlog, solve|Tags: , , , , , , , |

It’s always an honor when someone cares to hear your advice. It is my pleasure to share with you a BlogRadio interview I was part of on Saturday evening that featured… well… me and Idea Sandbox!

Jenny Ward, the Chief Play Activist at Playward, hosts the “Live In PLAY” talk show every Saturday afternoon at 2:30 PST. We chatted for 35 minutes or so, about… how to be creative, tips on being remarkable, and a few other fun thoughts.

Here is the interview, I hope you enjoy it!

Blog Talk Radio Logo

[RSS Readers, Click Here To Listen]

About Playward

Playward works to transform the way the world defines work, relationships and individuality – from “hard” to an adventure. Jenny is part of the play-volution, calling on new ways of how we treat ourselves and one another. Playward is bringing back the simple pleasures we are forgetting and adding more FUN to our day to day.

Check out Jenny’s site at, and her “Live In Play” BlogTalkRadio station.

Books I Mention In This Interview

During my talk with Jenny, several books were mentioned, I thought I’d provide links to them for you here.

Thank you, Jenny… It was a blast!

January 2009

December 2006

How to Be Different: “Dominant Selling Idea”

2017-03-01T11:57:24+00:00 Categories: grow|Tags: , , , , |

In their book “Why Johnny Can’t Brand: Rediscovering the Lost Art of the Big Idea” Bill Schley and Carl Nichols Jr. share their idea of the dominant selling idea (DSI) and how to create a #1 brand. While you may be familiar with product differentiation these fellas talk about both product and brand differentiation.

Who: Bill Schley and Carl Nichols Jr.

What: “DSI” (dominant selling idea)

What is it?

It’s your “motivating difference” – the one difference that tips the scale in your direction versus all others at the moment of purchase. It’s what defines you as the #1 in a desired specialty… They say you have to satisfy these “Five Selling Ingredients” to make this happen…

Questions to Qualify Your DSI
You need to ask if your company or product…

  • Superlative – is best in class – better than the competition. Promise me something nobody else does.
  • Important – offers something that really matters. Something I really want or would be in the market for if I knew about it.
  • Believable – offers a logical reason, has credibility.
  • Memorable – has an emotional hook that sticks until purchase time. Do you have something not only that I need – but what I want. (This is the Free Prize)
  • Tangible – offers something real. Customers trust it because they’ve experienced it and it performed as promised. Must perform in a way that’s totally aligned and consistent with all of your claims.

How is it done?

There are several key steps that Bill and Carl suggest… I’ll outline them broadly below…

  1. Identify and choose your unique ownable specialty.
  2. Create a specialty statement… articulate your specialty.
  3. Create the five building blocks your DSI star.

1. Base + Extenders…

  • Identify your specialty by identifying or creating your ‘unique reason’ for being #1.
  • Add “extenders” to your “base specialty” until you separate yourself from the pack.
  • Base Specialty + (Extender + Extender + Extender) = Unique Ownable Specialty

Base Specialty = Lager Beer
Extender 1 = German (Lager Beer)
Extender 2 = Lite (German, Lager Beer)
Extender 3 = Non-Alchoholic (Lite, German, Lager Beer)

Non-Alchoholic, Lite, German, Lager Beer = Unique Ownable Specialty

2. Specialty Statement

Create for yourself a specialty statement which outlines what makes you #1.

“__________ (product/company) is the #1 choice for __________ (specialty). That’s because only __________ (product/company) has __________. (a unique reason why: a superlative ingredient, process, or service that other’s don’t).”

3. DSI Star

You need to complete all five of the star points to help us identify what our dominant selling idea (DSI) is.

  1. Your name. Is it meaningful? Does it convey what the company/product is about? Is it catchy and memorable?
  2. What is our unique ownable specialty – what do we do that no one else does?
  3. What tagline (or mantra*) encapsulates what you do? *More on mantra in the next post in this series about Guy Kawasaki. This is your “DSI wrapped in a magic word package.”
  4. What is our key image (worth 1000 words)? Not your logo… it’s an “indelible snapshot that demonstrates both performance and proof – you DSI – in a single flash.” This is your…

    Drinking Straw in the Tropicana Orange.

Marlboro cowboy.

Krazy Glue guy stuck to the girder.

The fried egg (your brain on drugs) from the
Partnership for a Drug Free America.

  • Define our DSI-Level Performance – this is walking the talk. Creating total consistent alignment within our business. Our ‘service-level agreement’ with ourselves to maintain our DSI.

Of course, these highlights only scrape the surface of what is covered in the book. With my clients, I use this DSI work in combination with Seth’s “remarkability” and with “creating a Zag” (Which will be discussed in the upcoming Marty Neumeier post).

Check Out



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