One of the more challenging aspects of positioning your business is finding the right balance between differentiating yourself from the competition but not being too far out of the market mindset that you're excluded. You want to be in the conversation, but more importantly you want to be set apart from your peers so you have your own ground to stand on.
Apple and Tesla are two companies that are doing a great job of that. They are well known in their market segments, but just as important they are able to drive the discussion about where their industry is going. If you can be the lens by which the market looks at your industry you can affect change that steers into your strengths and puts a lock on your position as a market leader.
Now granted not all of us have the luxury of having that kind of brand position. If you're in a commoditized space or offer services that several competitors offers it's hard to find that patch of fertile ground that you can call you own. The problem with most clients I work with is that they are not ready to push themselves into that uncomfortable place where they truly separate themselves from the competition. Most of them feel like if they don't use the same words, the same vernacular or the same imagery there will be a "loss of signal" with potential clients and the market at large. I think it's even more important today to take definitive stands about your place in the market, what value you bring and what separates you from the rest of the pack. That doesn't mean you have to be weird or crazy, but you should push yourself to go beyond what you see every day and ask what the market is truly looking for from your organization and your industry.
Today's marketing landscape gives us so many great ways to test this through digital marketing and A/B testing, but there is still one old method to trying this out that holds true. Talk to your customers! Tell them what you're up to and why you think you should be the one changing the conversation. Understanding why they first bought from you and why they still buy from you day will invariably lead to relevations that give you great insight into how you should really be positioned and what can unlock that next level for you. It may be your people, your process, your product or something you don't even know but if you dig deep enough it will be there - and once you find it don't be afraid to start climbing out on that limb. I bet the view will be pretty good once you get there.
The next time you are thinking about how you are positioning yourself in the market go through the exercise of pushing your differentiation to its breaking point - you may find that undiscovered country that will take your business to places you never thought it could.