Mapping The Web

February 2, 2007

Using Positioning to Emphasize Your Competitive Advantage

Tags: strategy, off topic — Aidan @ 11:59 am

For the most part nowadays, new start-ups don’t usually produce revolutionary, ground-breaking ideas. Rather, they add a twist to an exisiting idea. This usually comes in the form of new features. However, a more interesting and potentially lucrative strategy is to focus on positioning rather than feature set.

How often do you hear, “We’re like Flickr but we have an XYZ feature which makes us better”? In many cases, start-ups that compare themselves to the big guns lack a credible offering. In addition, the added feature is often over-emphasized and impractical.

But what if a start-up were to say, “We’re like Flickr, but faster”? All of a sudden, there’s a case to be made. Other interesting examples include:

  • “We’re like Google, but provide more relevant results.”
  • “We’re like LinkedIn, but easier to use.”
  • “We’re like Digg, but navigation is simpler.”
  • “We’re like Yahoo Finance, but the interface is cleaner and less cluttered.”

Having a reference point facilitates the explanation of your value proposition.

People know the big guys. If you can take a similar experience and make it better somehow, positioning as such can work to your favour.

Another approach is to consider is comparing your start-up to a more well-known company, but in a different context. In the early days of YouTube, it became known as the ‘Flickr of video’. Why? Because it encompassed a clean, media portal experience with tagging. The only difference was that YouTube focused on video rather than photo.

Many niche social networks proclaim that they are the “MySpace of ___”. In other words, they are a social network tailored around the BLAH niche. But in saying so, potential users are once again given a reference point which helps them more easily visualize the service.

Using positioning and reference points to differentiate your service against competitors is extremely advantageous. Simply identify your strengths and position accordingly. Understanding your weaknesses is also important as your competitors will probably position themselves against them. Positioning to Emphasize Your Competitive Advantage digg:Using Positioning to Emphasize Your Competitive Advantage reddit:Using Positioning to Emphasize Your Competitive Advantage

One Response to “Using Positioning to Emphasize Your Competitive Advantage”

  1. Zach Katkin Says:

    Hi, found you by way of 9rules. Good post, although I don’t understand the difference between “we’re like flickr, but we have xyz” and “we’re like flickr only faster.” Aren’t the two one and the same is speed, relevancy, etc. not just an additional feature or enhancement? I think the best web 2.0 spin-offs include one thing… specificity or niche! Additional features are usually a plus, but when they can be combined with and enhance a specific niche, there is real power and potential.

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