The idea of differentiation and standing out in whatever industry you are in is such an important concept that I take the opportunity to write about it frequently. The key is to find something that makes it very easy for people to see you’re doing something different from everyone else in your industry. It can take some guts to reach out and be different, but that’s the point.
Over the weekend I visited a salon called Chop Tops. The name gave me some hint that this place was a little different, but the moment you walk in the place their differentiation strategy hits you full force. Chop Tops is infused with a rockabilly, hot rod, chopper, retro feel from the concert posters on the wall to the Buck Owens on the stereo.
This is a men’s salon, but not in a cheesy macho way. They feature hair services, massage, and a hot towel razor shaves.
The Chop Tops feel won’t be for everyone. If a stylist with pink hair and an abundance of tattoos frightens then this isn’t your place, but that’s one of the core elements of a strong marketing strategy – don’t try to be all things to all folks – pick a strong statement and make it.
The Chop Tops strategy likely comes from the fact that one of the owners plays in a local rockabilly band and enjoys the culture, but the blending of a proven business (salon and spa) with a somewhat identifiable culture (rockabilly is a pretty hot trend) is a solid way to create a differentiation. In this case Chop Top is differentiating their salon from cookie cutter fru, fru salons by creating a totally different feel – the services they provide may be very much like other salons, but their strategy will certainly allow them to attract a specific target audience.
Blending two proven ideas is a very powerful way to create a difference in an industry that may otherwise compete on price. (Think Marketing and Duct Tape)
So, what’s your differentiation strategy? How can you break through the “we have better products” myth and provide better service trap and truly put something out there that makes people talk.