Competitive Advantage: Standing Out from The Crowd By Francis Esiemokhai

Competitive advantage refers to factors that allow an individual or an organisation to produce goods or services better and cheaper than its competitor(s). It is a competitive world where everyone wants to be on top to gain relevance and ultimately increase revenue and profitability. 

Competitive advantages can be broken down into two broad heads comparative and differential advantages:

Comparative Advantage:

A firm's ability to produce goods or services more efficiently than its competitors, which leads to greater profit margins, creates a comparative advantage. Comparative advantage does not imply a better product or service though; it only shows the firm can offer a product or service of the same value at a lower price.

Differential Advantage:

A differential advantage is when a firm's products or services differ from its competitors' offerings and are seen as superior. Advanced technology, patent-protected products or processes, superior personnel, and strong brand identity are all drivers of differential advantage. These factors support wide margins and large market shares.

These factors allow the productive entity to generate more sales or superior margins compared to its market rivals and ultimately place an individual or organization as a market leader or a market icon.

In today’s business environment where most organisations' products are homogeneous in nature, the comparative advantage is non-existence. (i.e. ability to produce goods more efficiently than a competitor is non-existence in most cases). To stand out from the crowd, we will be focusing on the differential advantage which influences customers' attitude and buying behaviour.

7 Keys To Make You Stand Out In A Crowd


Having worked with two world-class organisations and relating with different levels or classes of individuals, companies, employees, and management for over twenty years, here are my seven keys that will help an individual stand out from the pack.

# Key 1 Think No One:

“As a man thinks in his heart so is he” believe in yourself and the organisation you represent.

Self Believe

Being in the crowd or stand out from the crowd is a choice. It begins with your thoughts, creating a mental picture of your position.

Barack Hussein Obama, Said “Yes, we can” he became the 44th president of the United States. If you will stand out from the crowd like Obama, believe and declare “I belong to the top”.

Believe in the Organisation you represent:

“You cannot export what you don’t have”, we need to believe in the organisation we represent before we can effectively market and sell its products.  

Whether taking a new role in an organisation, dealing with an existing customer or a prospective customer, believe in your brand. So standing out from the crowd begins with you.

Never compromise the brand or quality to compete for the same or lesser price. When people invest in the brand, they are investing in you, so BELIEVE in yourself and the brand you represent.

# Key 2 Excellent Customer Experience

Customer service is a true test of a company’s competence to most clients. An excellent service will create repeated sales and ultimately increase revenue and profitability, it is especially driven by a good knowledge of your products and brand. Great customer service provides a reason to return.  

Treat your customers like royalty, even when it is not convenient, it is the soul of any business. All customers have an expectation of great service and when it is met they keep coming, when it is exceeded they invite others to the party. This will certainly set you apart from the rest. Surprise and delight your customers, sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest impact.

As a Branch Manager, I managed the account of a large Chinese Group for a few years, but with no significant breakthrough, even with repeated visits with my Executive Management team. On this faithful day, one of my team members alerted us of the Group Chairman’s birthday, so we arranged for a cake of N4,000.00 and a bottle of Wine N1,200.00 well packaged, we headed for the company and delivered the gift to the Chairman, these where his words “ No bank has visited my office, nobody in my office remembered my birthday, even my wife has not called me, only my daughter called me a while ago. This visit is very important to me”. We became one of the preferred bankers of the group. Try it.

# Key 3 Adopt the Best Policy – Honesty

My grandmother told me that truth is like a stone that is covered with weeds, in no time, weeds will die off and the stone will remain. People and organisations will always find out the truth so settle for the truth it will set you apart from the pack. Be honest about your products and services. Honesty should be your main policy. When you make commitments to individuals or organisations and cannot deliver on the due date, call and let them know of the changes. 

# Key 4 Fix Problems to Build Stronger Relationships

Customers equate experience with brands. If they have one bad experience that remains unresolved, they will write you off. Negative feedback spreads like wildfire through social media and word of mouth. You need to be on top of your game to improve the customer experience, sometimes by going far out of your way. One major point is to accept your mistakes, whether they are your fault or not. Customers prefer businesses that own up to their mistakes and take steps to correct them. In fact, customer relationships can actually be stronger after resolving an issue than before, if handled well.

If you want to win customers over, a great way to do that is to alleviate their pain. Think about how you can solve a common problem for your customers and you’re sure to stand out.

# Key 5 Dare To Be Different

Looking at what your competitors are doing well and what they’re doing badly, can help you figure out new ideas for your own company and competitive differentiation.

If you want to stand out from your competitors, it pays to do business differently than they do. Finding and exploiting holes in their business models is a great way to set your company apart.

# Key 6 Great Team

If your team is happy to be working with you, this will radiate through to your customers through staff communications and sales, and their attitude towards the greater goal. A happy and motivated team keeps the customers coming back. A team that is proud to work for you, will proactively spread positive vibes about the brand, it is a huge bonus. Leveraging on the networks of your team can help make you stand out from the crowd.

# Key 7 Keep the Connect

Visit, call, text, mail, chat, by all means, keep in touch with your customers, it opens great doors.

Remember this Life rule: You are never too busy to keep in touch.

The keys above have been effective in countless engagement and can be used depending on the occasion. 

Conclusively, building an identity is seemingly difficult, but it is not impossible. I hope you find these keys useful in your quest to stand out from the Crowd.

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About UBA Group


  1. You are absolutely right, looking at today's market one gets the impression that all products are manufactured at one enterprise.
    Therefore, focusing on building a differentiation strategy is a great palan. At Resumesbot we do just that. Thanks for your interesting article!