Put A Date On Hold

What makes YOU Different?

It's the end of winter here in the southern hemisphere. The whipped peaks of the Andes are white, and it's still cold enough to need a down coat in the shade.

I'm so sorry I haven't written in a few weeks, but I've been hibernating in my office like a Patagonian Puma working on my keynote speech for the most significant marketing event of the year (which starts on Tuesday.)

I haven't forgotten about you, my Loyalty Loop friends. In the last six weeks, I've been asking business people all over the world one question: "what makes you, your company, your products, or your services different?"

And the answers are disappointing. Why?

Well, I'm going to need a map, some Chilean laundry detergent, un poquito de español and a winter coat to try tackle the answer.

Recently I talked about the marketer's curse, the curse that you're too close to the industry to actually differentiate yourself.

You get sucked in to all the industry messaging instead of worrying about your customers and clients.

And when I've been around the world asking people what makes them, their company, or their products different, I don't hear what really differentiates them.

So what makes you different?

I mean, really different. Why do I talk about Chilean laundry detergent in the video above?

Well, because I was at an event there where I met the founders of Popeye.

The first question I asked the founders of Popeye was what makes Popeye different? And what they went on to tell me was that they have a family business, it's been around for a long time, it's a Chilean laundry detergent… and there aren't many of those.

And they went on to explain that it started with a kind of soap which was actually green. They told me all about the heritage of the company, but they never told me why their product is different for the customer.

This is how you need to answer this question, what makes your company different?

You see what we're trying to get to is why I would buy Popeye instead of any other brand from Unilever or P&G. Why would I buy Chilean laundry detergent?

After a half hour of forcing the founders to tell me what makes the product different from the customer's perspective, why they should buy a Chilean laundry detergent, we came up with this…

You see, I'm told that Chileans have very sensitive skin, and using too much laundry detergent in their clothing will actually give them a rash, or hives, or an irritation that's uncomfortable.

On the packaging it says “hypoallergenic”, "The number one choice for people with soft skin."

The point is, so only a Chilean can make really good Chilean laundry detergent, but that's not enough.

You see, in addition to learning about sensitive skin, I also learned that there are different types of water in Chile. In the north of Chile, the longest country in the world, the water is very hard. In the middle of the country, it's not so hard, but it's not so soft either. The water in the south of Chile is the softest water, some of the softest water, in the world. And when you have soft water, you don't need to use lots of laundry detergent.

In addition, they use the softest water in the world to make Popeye. Which means, you get more bubbles out of Popeye than any other brand.

Where they make Popeye, Talcahuano, is what differentiates the product. The water is amazingly soft here. There’s a huge river called the Biobío River, that flows right from the Andes, right out into the ocean, right at Talcahuano.

So what is it that actually makes Popeye different?

Well, it's made with the softest water in Chile, possibly the world, and that water comes right down from the Andes Mountains, trickles down the Biobío River, and right into Talcahuano's well, where they make this unbelievably soft skin detergent.

So if you're Chilean, if you've got soft skin, even better yet, if you're hypoallergenic, and you want the best laundry detergent in the world, this is it.
And it is a product, not just of Chile, but of Talcahuano, a little town, about three or four hundred kilometers south of Santiago, and that's what makes this product unique from the customer's perspective.

Ignore the features and functions...

So the next time you're asked, what makes you, your company, or your products different, I don't want you to tell me about the features and functions, I don't want you to tell me about the people that you hire, I want you to think about what actually makes you different.

And sometimes, that’s the place where you make your product. So, what if you market the place you do business just as much, if not more, than the business you do? Just like Popeye.

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