Why your business is no different than a no name bottle of water

Why do they pick you?I love this activity that I teach to help entrepreneurs figure out their unique positioning.  I call it the “Water Bottle Activity”.

When a customer thinks about buying water, they have at least 4-5 choices.  What makes select the brand they do?  And why do they often choose it every time?

Ummm the ingredients are the same.  Although I hear the faint echo of the water companies beating down my door to explain the difference.  I wish they would.  I need more info for this activity to really do it justice!

I usually ask the class to pick their favorite choice.  There is often a class favorite.  It varies based on the region where I’m doing the activity, the ratio of male vs female and a few other lifestyle factors – ie. frequent airline travelers.

But for the most part, they pick the same brand time and time again.

Any guesses why? 

The first responses I usually get are based on recent marketing.  They cite a commercial they’ve seen.  An event they attended.

But when I start to dig further and get into the deeper reason they buy – often it’s tied on an emotional level.  My favorite response from this activity – that bottle of water was always in my Mother’s house.  Why would I drink anything else?

So the core reason why someone selects your business is the emotional value they gain from using your product or service.  It’s related to how you make them feel.

I could spend 100 hours on this topic as I think it’s fascinating – and explains why many small business owners struggle with their unique value.  They forget that the customer is looking at their business as if they are ever other water bottle on the display.  “It’s you and 100 others.  Who do I choose?”  And often the difference is not extremely apparent.  So they base it off of awards, press, media, or something that someone shared with them already about it.  Amazon reviews anyone?

Now if the small business owner could tap into how it makes the person feel – they could possibly start converting them as a customer/client.

There is a great TED video on this topic – — How great leaders inspire action: Simon Sinek on TED.com

I encourage you to watch it and share your thoughts below