Are Your Companies Really Unique?

Are Your Companies Really Unique?

As consumers pull back on spending in inflationary times, businesses need to set themselves apart. Ryan Baum provides best practices for leaders to truly differentiate their offerings by looking beyond what’s available and unlocking what their customers need but can’t yet articulate or envision.

Every company thinks it’s different. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, many find themselves stuck in a sea of sameness.   

Witness how many media firms jumped into streaming strategies, how many automakers started building electric SUVs and how many cereal companies are stuffing their products with proteins. Over the last 15 years, we’ve become very good at copying what everyone else is doing.

This is a weak position in an age of inflation and bank failures, where consumer spending has already retreated and will likely retreat more. Continued prosperity means setting yourself apart. It starts with asking one simple question: What do I know about my customers that my competitors don’t? Try it: It’s surprisingly difficult to answer. 

Executive FOMO

Recently, I asked an executive at a financial services firm what made their product strategy different from their competitors’ approach. They said they differentiated on their ability to offer personalized financial advice. The problem? When I asked five leaders at five other banks the same thing, they responded in the same exact way. 

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It’s only natural this happened. We’re all doing essentially the same research, asking the same survey questions and producing reams of data that point to proven markets. When a competitor makes a move, we feel the urge to call our teams and shout, “Disney just launched its streaming service! Where’s ours?” Call it a case of executive FOMO. 

Read the full article on Directors & Boards.

Ryan Baum


Ryan is a partner and advisor to Fortune 500 executives, setting the course for large-scale transformation and aggressive growth. He helped a major airline clarify and roll out a new corporate strategy, partnered with an automotive company to recapture the Millennial market, and helped a technology giant break into the healthcare industry.