I am usually quite wary of books written by old school advertisers, mainly because many of their beliefs and strategies were formulated before the web came along. And of course a lot has changed in the last 15 years with the web.
However I found the “The Inside Advantage” by Robert Bloom to be excellent on many fronts; very practical, no jargon, easy to read and based on strategy not tactics (which come and go).
What I love is that the book is written as if Robert himself is guiding you (the reader) through a strategic workshop with Publicis Worldwide. It is structured so that by the end, you and your team define the 4 things that will unlock your Inside Advantage – the secret to your company’s growth!
In short, Who + What + How + Own It! = INSIDE ADVANTAGE
WHO: is your ideal core customer and why (10-15 words)
WHAT: is your ‘uncommon offering’ – what truly represents unique value to your ideal customer (10-15 words)
HOW: is the persuasive strategy that will convince your core customer to buy your uncommon offering vs. all competitive offerings. This sells WHAT to WHO.
OWN IT!: is the series of imaginative acts that will celebrate the company’s uncommon offering and make it well known to its core customer. You can have ‘explosive’ and ‘ubiquitous’ things you do.
Toby and I read the book and went through what Bloom calls the Growth Discovery Process. It was a fun and beneficial exercise.
The key discovery for Bluewire:
Prior to reading the book Toby and I both struggled to truly identify our ‘ideal client.’ For years we’d been trying to define our ideal client by industry, sector, size, revenue or location… but there would always be an exception that would debunk what we’d previously defined.
Whilst reading the “Inside Advantage,” Toby immediately came to the realisation that our ideal clients shared a similar mindset, not demographics. They were all people “who are dedicated to being #1 in their market niche”.
This mindset applied equally to the people at a billion dollar superannuation company as it did to the people at a local dentist, a high school and a big finance company.
We completed all of Bloom’s activities and we found the following was our inside advantage.
Bluewire’s Inside Advantage:
WHO: professionals/people in companies who are dedicated to being #1 in their market niche.
WHAT: trusted web strategy advisors who are devoted to communication and helping you make the most of the web.
HOW: Deliver value and show you care with every interaction, so the relationship always gets stronger.
Explosive events — seminars, annual birthday party, web strategy workshop
Ubiquitous events — regular wows, fixes and thank yous, free tools and e-books, VIP client lunches, thank you cards, birthday cards, personal notes and snail mail letters!
Bloom actually advises against sharing your “inside advantage” publicly, but I have decided to because I believe there is more to gain by sharing. I am choosing to adopt Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh‘s wisdom here. Tony says competitors can copy your products, website, marketing, pricing and business model, but they cannot copy your people or culture!