As you know, your “edge” is your competitive advantage. It is what sets you apart from your competitors, giving you a unique selling point, and helping you develop a strong and loyal customer base. The success of your company depends on finding your edge.
How do you find your Company Edge?
Finding your company edge boils down to asking yourself the right questions.
What is our product?
Are you absolutely clear on what is actually being sold? Granted, you manufacture an item or items and you sell that, but beyond that are you selling a solution or an experience, or something your customers need but don’t know it yet? On identifying what the real product is, connect it with the target audience. How? By adding an emotional quality to the product or service and giving it a deeper meaning.
Who is our customer?
A lot of how a brand positions itself, depends on the target audience. If you have a product that is meant for parents of young kids, you wouldn’t create a campaign targeting retirees or teens. Every company needs to be very clear about who their customer is so that they know exactly how to frame their own image and find their edge. You need to identify your customer so that they can clue you in on how to market your product.
How does the product serve the customer?
When you look at any company that has a huge competitive advantage, you will find that their success is based largely on solving a problem for their customers. Take Amazon for example, because people had no time to do shopping for essentials or anything, Amazon brought the mall into these people’s homes and offices. Similarly, your company too needs to be a problem solver for the TG, or it needs to add value to their lives. For example, you aren’t just selling a mop, you are selling them a convenient and efficient way of cleaning their homes.
How is our company different from our competitors?
You offer your customers a solution to their problem, but so do your competitors. So, why should they choose you over them? Is there a value-added service that you can offer your customers that your competitors don’t? Is there something about your product that makes it better than what your customer offers? Find that answer or develop it so that you can give your customers a darn good reason to choose your company. Sticking with the Amazon example, the multi-billion-dollar company upped its edge by giving the consumer Amazon Prime; a monthly/annual membership that provides you with a whole range of value-added services including music and video streaming, free delivery, and express deliveries.
What makes us unique?
There is a fine line between being different from your competitors and being unique. Your uniqueness could lie in the fact that your product is better, but it helps to find that one thing that makes your company stand out. Do you use sustainable, eco-friendly packaging for all your products? Do you hire employees with disabilities? Do you put aside one month in the year when all profits are donated to cancer research? Find or create something that makes your customers feel like they are being a part of something bigger and better. Finding your company edge is all about setting yourself apart from the rest. Indian based Good Juicery for example plants a tree for every 1000 drinks they sell. They also enlist local groups to collect and recycle their cans.
Your Edge and Your Employees
Finding your company edge helps you develop a value system. You know exactly what your company stands for, who it intends to serve and how it will provide that service. With these points in mind, you know exactly what kind of employee you need to help take the company forward. Use your company edge and value system to attract employees that identify with what you do and get drawn to your business. Here’s how you do it:
The job posting:
When creating a post to invite job applicants it is important to state not just the kind of candidate you are looking for but also what the company edge is. Be very clear that you are looking for someone to fit in well with what the company stands for. For example, if your company is involved with a charity that helps underprivileged kids, you might want employees who are good with kids because they will need to volunteer with the charity a few times a year. Also, if you are looking for candidates with certain skills you can design your job posting that tests those skills directly.
When taking the interview, you have a good opportunity to get a feel of the candidate’s personality beyond what is in their resumé. Once you are clear on your company edge it is very easy to spot who will be a good fit for your work force and who won’t. If you are all about selling a product to the 20-30 years demographic, then you can structure your interview questions to help you assess if the candidate will be up to the task. It is important to not just listen to their answers, but also observe how they answer your questions.
Finally, it helps to create a test that will help you select those employees that will add to the growth of your company. If you need writers, create a test that evaluates writing skills and creativity, if you need sales people, you should check how well they sell, and if you need designers, have them design something for you. But along with all this add a twist to the test that can also help you test if their values align with yours. For example, give them a mildly sensitive topic to deal with and observe how they approach it. Assess both aspects of the test to find the right people for your company.
Your company edge gives you an identity, with this identity you can create a job posting and process to attract the right people.