“However, my research and my personal experience has convinced me that organizations that clearly and creatively seek to differentiate—and raise their performance to a level that creates distinction—will naturally become superior to inconspicuous competitors.”
That’s a quote in Scott McKain’s book, The Collapse of Distinction. (Full disclosure: he references this blog in his appendix.) If you are seeking ways to set your organization apart from your competitors then you may want to read—then act—on the information this book contains.
In the first part of the book Scott talks about the three destroyers of distinction that have homogenized many organizations to the point where one business is perceived by customers to be no different than its competitors.
For example, Scott lists as the first destroyer, “Capitalism produces incremental advancement.” In other words, change is constantly occurring. The reason why this is a destroyer is that an organization responds to the change either incrementally or by replicating the changes of a competitor. More to the point, the organization is responding to change by competitors, not to the desires of the customers.
The second part of the book discusses ways you can create distinction, a step he describes as being above differentiation. Scott uses a pyramid divided into three sections stacked on top of each other. At the base is “sameness,” where there is no discernable difference between your competitors and you. Level two is “differentiation,” where you’re starting to be different. Level three is “distinction.” Where you are known (and frequently celebrated) for your ability to set yourself apart from your competition.
He spends most of the book laying out the “four cornerstones of distinction.”
- Customer experience focus (Now you know why I’m reviewing this book.)
These cornerstones should resonate with those of you implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy.
At the end of each chapter Scott poses several questions for you to answer. I like that format because if you’re serious about differentiating, Scott makes you think, then act, rather than just read.
He follows his own advice about story telling and I found the book to be a fast read. I also like that discussing the solution takes up the majority of the book, not laying out the problem or theorizing about it. And I agree with what he writes about the importance of focusing on the customer experience (and it’s not just customer service, either.)