Effective Differentiation Is Lost Today for These 3 Surprising Reasons

Effective differentiation is lost today for these 3 surprising reasons.

Even though:

  • competition has never been more fierce,
  • customers have never been more fickle, and switch suppliers with ease.
  • technological change is occurring at the speed of light.
  • regulations are getting more complex.
  • unpredictable events are hitting unsuspecting organizations with unbelievable frequency.

You would think organizations would be proficient at declaring why people should buy from them and not their competitors; why their value is special and unique when compared to what is being offered by other competitors in their space.




Everybody is copying everyone else. Benchmarking is used as the ‘tool of innovation’ by literally everyone.

Copying is the antithesis of originality. Nothing new is created. The ‘old’ is perpetuated.

It’s no wonder that ’undifferentiation’ is happening. The gap among organizations is blurred rather than focused.

What makes one organization special vis-a-vis their competitors is clouded in common rhetoric.

“Emulation gets you to parity. But when everyone does it it gets you to strategic hell.” — Herman Singh, LinkedIn Post


Concepts like ‘better’, ‘best’, #1, ‘leader’, ‘most reliable’, ‘premium’, ‘great’, ‘most trusted’, ‘lowest cost’ and ‘first ever’ pervade the way most organizations declare their ‘special sauce’.

  • Differentiation claims expressing these intentions are found everywhere.
  • Most organizations make similar claims.
  • They’re not believable.
  • No accountability is established.
  • Customers are confused.
  • No differences among organizations are defined.

They don’t answer the question “Why should I do business with you as opposed to your competitors?”

Some CLAPTRAP claims:

  • “Canada’s largest and most reliable 5G network”
  • “… offers the best coffee and espresso drinks for consumers who want premium ingredients and perfection every time.”
  • “We work hard everyday to make … the world’s most respected service brand.”


  • These are helium-filled claims at the 10,000’ level.
  • What the hell do they mean?
  • They lack the tangibility needed for people to make informed decisions on who to select as their supplier.
  • They can’t be proven.
  • They don’t inspire execution or accountability.


  • “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
  • “Champions of Customer Service”
  • “Our mission is to make the world happier and healthier”
  • “We’re in business to save our home planet.”
  • “To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.”

So, what’s your solution?


In a world of cluttered and confused messaging, you have to put ‘precision to your promise’ in order to make it clear to people why they should do business with you.

I created The ONLY Statement—ONLY— as the way to clearly define what makes you special and unique in a crowded marketplace.

ONLY looks like this: “We are the ONLY ones who…”

Some ONLY claims:

  • BCI Marine is the ONLY complete service partner committed to delivering solutions to grow a boat dealer’s business.”
  • Kimberly Lebbing is The ONLY High-Performance Success & Mindset Expert Helping Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, and Their Teams Get Mind-Blowing Results in as Little as 4 Hours.”
  • “ONLY TELUS PureFibre has upload speeds as fast as download speeds, and a 100% fiber optic connection that runs direct to your home—so you can binge without buffering.”
  • “We provide the ONLY permanent solution that prevents biohazard contaminants (such as used syringes) and all other debris from entering manholes.”
  • “We are the ONLY team that provides integrated safety solutions that go beyond the needs of our customers ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. We are committed to growing our customer’s business. We ONLY serve safety.”
  • “Roy Osing is the ONLY author, entrepreneur and executive leader who delivers practical and proven ‘Audacious Unheard-of Ways’ to build high performing businesses and successful careers.”
  • “Roy is the ONLY coach and advisor who offers The ONLY Statement as a practical and proven tool to create a competitive advantage for organizations and individuals.”
  • The North Delta Business Association is the ONLY team that:
    • Links you to other businesses.
    • Connects you with experienced & knowledgeable people to help you lead & grow your business.
    • Constantly challenges you to do things differently.”

Can you see the difference between ONLY and the other claims?

ONLY smokes them all.

Draft your ONLY.

Let me help.

Related: What Is ‘Fingerprint’ Leadership and Why Is It So Incredibly Important?