Yesterday, I shared the first part of an interview I conducted with Roy Osing, author of a wonderful new book called “BE DIFFERENT or be dead.” Today, we’ll wrap up that interview with a few closing questions.
You touched on technology a bit in the book, however, I was interested in what your feelings are toward the internet and social media. How are these tools affecting how businesses’ approach meaningful differentiation? If you were starting up a small business in today’s market, how would you use technology to help you BE DIFFERENT?
“I tend to view technology as an “enabler of VALUE” as opposed to the source of differentiation. Let the customer drive what you do rather than the technology. Too many technology (product) foggers out there.
That said, the internet and social media can be extremely important as a MEANS of creating awareness for, promoting and delivering the unique customer VALUE you have decided to provide your target audience.
The challenge remains, however, to use these tools in a manner that is DiFFERENT than others. Make sense? Good question.”
6. I’ve noticed that you are a savvy Twitter user. That’s how we met. How do you use Twitter? In your opinion, what are some of the best ways that businesses can use Twitter?
“My Twitter strategy: develop relationships, create awareness for my work and try to make a difference in the life of someone in an organization looking for proven, practical and cool performance enhancement ideas. If you can’t provide unique content in your tweets they will deliver no value to your followers and they will leave you (the same BE DiFFERENT principle).
In my seminars I talk about Twitter as an excellent Customer Learning Tool…. attract your customers to follow you…. listen to what they have to say and ACT!!”
7. I was intrigued by your approach to how you designed the book. Your use of section overviews, chapter highlights at the beginning of each chapter, multiple call outs throughout chapters, and “quick hits” at the end of them all made the book easy to preview, scan and read. Not many business books go to such detail. Why did you decide to take this approach to the layout/format of the book?
“Thanks for noticing! The design of the book is intended to set it apart from the myriad of business books in the market.
It is intended to be an easy-to-read “How to” book (hence the examples, type font and free space) and a Learning guide (hence the call-outs, Quick Hits and Learning Points). I wanted to create an enjoyable learning experience for people, and based on their feedback I have hit the target.”
8. In general, what do you see happening to companies in the near and distant future if they fail to differentiate? Are there specific industries that you see as being overly under differentiated?
“If an organization can’t create a compelling and unique reason for people to do business with them… THEY WON’T! Lots of examples of companies that have not been able to BE DiFFERENT (GM, Circuit City, Nortel etc.)
Retailers are challenged to do this well, although my experience isthat all organizations need to pay attention to BE DiFFERENT, even not-for-profits such as the Cancer Foundation (why should people donate to their cause as opposed to the ther choices they have?)
The title of the book is an absolute: If you are not DiFFERENT you’re dead (or soon will be).”
9. I work in marketing in the grocery retail industry here in the States. Differentiation can be a major problem, especially in the independent market. If you had the opportunity, what wisdom would you pass along to these businessmen and women?
“Follow the process I outline in the book (also, by the way, my blog is an excellent source of material on the book. Examples of organizations that Practice BE DiFFERENT well and those that don’t. Blogs on specific topics in the book).”
Roy also pointed out a couple of his recent blog posts that gave a few hits regarding this last question. They can be found by following these links (The Formula to be DiFFERENT, Ten BE DiFFERENT Practices to Renew Your Business).
Once again, I’d like to thank Roy for taking time out his trip to Maui to respond to my questions. He has provided us with a great book and his willingness to open up to his readers and fans is remarkable.