You already know the need for distinguishing yourself in the marketplace. The opposite of distinguishing yourself is to be a victim of commoditization. The immediate side effect of commoditization is erosion of value – your value. If you offer the same value as hundreds of other available options, then why pay more than one of the hundreds of options available?
One commodity crowd to another one
Now, let us assume that you totally buy the argument and want to breakaway from the pack. You start working towards distinguishing yourself and take some actions.
For example ( Note: these are EXAMPLES only) you might:
- Join a course, may be even an MBA program
- Learn the art of public speaking
- Join a music band
- Volunteer and raise money for a cause in addition to whatever you are doing.
In general, you will come up with a number of things that are considered as “difference makers” in the market. For example, if you have an MBA, you are definitely standing out of the crowd of people who don’t have an MBA. But that comes with another problem – you are now standing inside the crowd of people who DO have an MBA. You moved from one kind of commodity crowd to another kind of commodity crowd.
Because, now, people won’t compare you with someone who does not have an MBA but with available options they have with everyone who has an MBA.
So, just standing out of the crowd obviously doesn’t work. If not done right, that would be considered as a shortcut and shortcuts rarely work in the long run.
This seems like a no win situation, so how do you get out of it?
One solution: Being in the right intersection
An intersection in this context is the place where the right elements are mixed to move the needle for people that you care.
For example, if you are a marketing person, your right intersection may be the mix of:
- powerful storytelling
- product launch expertise
- technology skills
If this combination will provide you a better way to move the needle, AND you love the above topics, it would be great to come up with a personal learning plan to get really good at them. The next step is to showcase the power of the right intersection for you by brining the power of all the four skills together in a unique fashion.
Does this mean that you are losing focus? No. You are now focusing on the right intersection, that’s all.
Next, it does not end here. Over the years, the world will change and hence the intersection that will move the needle will be different. Hence, tomorrow’s intersection that will give you the edge may be very different from today’s intersection that is giving you the edge. This means, you are always on the look out to reinvent and refocus on the new intersection that will give you the edge. Of course, you won’t need to do this every year but for sure you need to re-look at your intersection every few years.
All the best!