How Vanilla is your business?

Most people think that vanilla ice cream is OK but how many will choose vanilla when choosing their scoop at Ben and Jerry’s ?

Not many.


Vanilla is boring and predictable. The ice cream world has cookies and cream, chocolate fudge brownie, strawberry cheesecake and more. This array of options, affords you the luxury of choice and gives you the ability to be able to express yourself through your selection.

But so many businesses are vanilla. Same as the others in the industry, no product or service differentiation, no visual or copy differences in their advertising and what can appear to be a copy and paste of nearly every other business in their space.

So with the risk averse tactic of choosing a vanilla business, who is going to choose you?

Unless you have been around a LONG time, expecting many clients with this strategy is going to be difficult.

The other evening I attended a talk by Tim Polmear who, together with his wife, was the founder of a company called Flat Tummy Tea. His talk was a great insight into a start up but also provided a practical example on how to not be vanilla. See as part of their brand strategy research they found that their competitors were using their tea product as ‘weight Loss’ and there was a lot of ‘weight Loss’ tea companies. So after some customer research and also knowing the benefits of their product, they positioned Flat Tummy Tea as a tea that will help with ‘bloating’ and ‘digestion’ not ‘weight loss’ like everyone else.

A simple positioning change, opened up a niche market for Flat Tummy Tea. Those consumers who didn’t agree or believe in the ‘weight Loss’ positioning of other products may have been far more comfortable with a product that helps with ‘bloating and digestion’. This positioning proved a masterstroke and helped Flat Tummy Tea grow exponentially over the next few years.

So in what ways can you differentiate your business? Do you have a special way of sourcing, making or delivering your product or service? How can you turn this into a competitive advantage to give you a different ‘flavour’ from everyone else in your industry?

Working with my good friends at The Jam Jar, we help bring out your ‘flavour’ through our strategy workshops so get in touch if you’re open to having a coffee and talking about your business.