If you’ve ever hung around marketing people for any period of time, entertained or even carried through the idea of owning a business (pat on the back) you may have heard the term ‘point of difference’. You may have dismissed it as marketing speak, and we will admit there is a lot of it around. ‘Point of design’ is also a relevant term in design, so we can confirm that it is definitely something real. Like design, a point of difference is a tool that can be employed to make a business more successful. Sometimes we’ve found that really beautiful design can even be the point of difference!
There are pretty much no original thoughts in the world right now (unless you’re a scientist working on the theory of the donut shaped universe. Mmmm… donut universe.) Most things have been thought of, and most new things are just better versions of old things. Except the Furbie, (we don’t know what was going on there, and we’re just as puzzled now as we were in 1998 when they were released).
So how does a business become successful in a market that’s likely to be already saturated? The popular stereotype of a new business idea is a someone coming up with some zany new brainwave that nobody has ever seen or heard of before. Like these. That you have probably never heard of most of them is enough proof. But even Harry Potter, J.K Rowling’s ridiculously successful brainchild which just ‘fell’ into her head on a train commute back to London, is only an evolution of an existing and well trodden genre. These days it’s all about coming up with a great idea (which someone else has undoubtedly had), copying the great stuff they’re doing, dropping the stuff that’s no good, and introducing a point of difference. Which might not sound as sexy, but it works.
That point of difference could be so many things – it could be great design that really hooks people (Apple), it could be introducing a decimal point to your ratings that make them just that little bit more real (Pitchfork), or it could be trading on the strength of your historical celebrity (Moleskine). These are all pretty huge ventures, and it may seem that they’re incomparable to most small businesses. But we want to pose the question – would they be so big now without their point of difference?
Every business can leverage good design, and we’ve seen the proof of how important that is to customers. Every business can make a small tweak in the way they present their content; if you think of something new that might make what you offer more valuable to you, then it’s likely that change will make your service more valuable to others. And every single business that has ever started up, broken down and chugged on has a story. Why not tell it?