“Companies that offer lots of options are often struggling to differentiate. Differentiation comes from clarity of why not excess of what.”

Simon Sinek

Ah, the modern marketplace, where companies vie for our attention like peacocks in a beauty contest. But let’s be real, not all peacocks have the plumage to stand out.

Some are like Patagonia, strutting their sustainable feathers and making us feel like we’re saving the planet one fleece at a time. Others, well, they’re more like Kodak, still preening feathers that were in vogue during the disco era.

Take Patagonia, for instance. They’re not just selling outdoor gear; they’re selling a manifesto. When you buy a jacket from them, it’s like you’re signing up to be part of the Avengers, but instead of fighting aliens, you’re battling climate change.

They’ve figured out that differentiation isn’t about bombarding us with options. It’s about saying, “Hey, we make great jackets, and by the way, we’re also trying to save the world.” It’s like your friend who’s a yoga instructor by day and an amateur detective by night. Unusual? Yes. Memorable? Absolutely.

Then there’s Dollar Shave Club. They burst onto the scene like a stand-up comedian at a corporate seminar. In a market where buying razors felt like being in a dull marriage, they spiced things up.

They didn’t just sell razors; they sold a personality, a lifestyle. It’s like choosing between a bland chicken dinner and a taco truck parked outside a karaoke bar. One is just a meal; the other is a story for Monday morning.

On the flip side, we have the Kodaks and BlackBerrys of the world. Kodak, bless their hearts, clung to film like I cling to the idea that people still read blogs. They mistook our nostalgia for commitment. By the time they realized we were all swiping right on digital, it was too late. They were like a disco dancer showing up to a hip-hop party.

And BlackBerry, oh dear. They were the kings of the corporate jungle, with their nifty keyboards and secure emails. But then came the touchscreen revolution, and they were like a squirrel at a dog show. They had the tools, but not the adaptability. They stuck to their guns while everyone else was playing laser tag.

So, what’s the moral of this corporate fable?

It’s not about how many colors you can paint your peacock feathers. It’s about knowing why your feathers are worth preening in the first place. Be like Patagonia, with a mission that turns heads and warms hearts. Or be like Dollar Shave Club, and turn a mundane task into a stand-up routine.

Just don’t be the peacock still shaking its tail feathers to a beat that no longer plays. In the end, it’s not about the excess of what you offer—it’s the clarity of why you’re strutting on the stage.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.