What is the way to set your Web Design/Development firm apart?

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The last blog was about a butler service that found a way to set itself apart in a crowded field. The company does this by positioning itself as “butlers” instead of “maids” — recognizing that, in the US at least, the term butler has a more upscale and desirable connotation (anyone can have a maid these days, but almost no one has a butler). And then the company backs that positioning strategy up with some important differences, including better presentation, a “portfolio” of clients, a personal meeting and consultation by the owner, cleaning techniques that focus on the details, and a more thorough and comprehensive solution.

It’s important to recognize that this is a common strategy to set a company apart: In web design as well, there are lots of generic “maid services,” but very few “butler” services. If you think about it for a little bit, I’ll bet you can figure out ways to position your firm in a way that changes the playing field and makes other web firms seem generic and incomplete….Just remember to back up your statements with substance.

Here is another way to set yourself apart, this time based on a successful seafood restaurant chain here in my part of the world:

This particular restaurant chain has a BIG problem: None of their locations are on the water. Meanwhile, almost every other seafood restaurant in the area has a spectacular water location and view. How can they even begin to compete in a crowded tourist market? What would you do if you were in their position?

Answer next blog (unless one of you comes up with the correct positioning strategy with a post), along with a proven methodology for positioning any business successfully……

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  • pip

    Hmmm… this would be interesting… I have very little idea.

  • http://jrickards.ca jrickards

    What about making it seem like they are near water such as a “moat” around the building or at least by the entrance? What about aquaria inside with living swimming (not for eating!) fish?

  • Mathew

    They could build themselves an ocean view inside the stores, similar to what Red Lobster have done in Times Square. What is the benefit that the diners get from a waterfront position? The idea that the food is so fresh, the connection with the ocean…how much of it can be matched by smart interior design. Choose a lobster from the tank, have it cooked for you, that kind of thing.

    Or perhaps focus on a home delivery strategy that means the location of the actual restaurant is less important than the food.

  • Jan Korbel

    What about strategy:”Hey, we have to be a good seafood restaurant if we are that far from the sea and still running haven’t we?”

  • http://www.lowter.com charmedlover

    Well in Florida most seafood restaurants that are chains such as Red Lobster and Long John Silvers are never found near the ocean. Even Corky Bells which was very popular (destroyed in Frances) was only near the river, and not that close.

    I think though that having a sea food restaurant near the water adds to the atmosphere. Downside is that beach property is very expensive.

  • NotThatBright

    The location not having a “view” needs to be countered by some other methods, maybe live music / bands. The service would need to cater to the customers, free drinks if waiting, etc… Personalized marketing for rewarding long-term customers. Oh, and their food should be tasty.

  • Les

    I would say market with a slogan (cop out some might say) that goes something like…

    Our Seafood Rest. Bringing the elegance of an ocean view to dry land.

    That is just my first thought though.

  • http://www.actra.no/ Pacifer

    They bring the “ocean” to you, where you live? If you live far from the ocean you don’t have time to go there every time you want sea food.

    Why not have a big tank where you can fish your own fish before it’s being prepared? Nah… too messy. :-)

  • markchivs

    Market research: I need to know whats important to the tourists to make them want to buy. It won’t be location and view for everyone. So what is it?

    When I know that I can use what I’ve learnt across my chain of restaurants to pull in custom.

  • markchivs

    oops change all those ‘I’s to ‘they’ :D

  • http://www.theelusivefish.com TragicLad

    Every seafood place does the same thing. Aquatic motif. Nettings and lobster traps and fish tanks.

    If I were opening a seafood place in a market as crowded as Florida, I’d take one of two approaches.

    Approach One – not about the food, about the experience
    Create a dinner atmosphere that’s almost a theme park unto itself. Don’t just settle for a plastic lobster or a fish tank at the front. Instead, deck the restaurant out to appear as if it’s the deck of a boat or the bottom of the deep or a sunken treasure ship. A running theme with a story that builds throughout the night. If you’ve ever seen a place like The Rainforest Cafe you know what I’m talking about. Make your chain into the sort of place that people say “geez, if you’re going through Orlando, you’ve got to have dinner at…”

    Approach two – the ying to their yang
    Every other place bills itself as surf & turf. Go the other way and be a turf & surf. Deck the place out in a western motif with a mix of the nautical thrown in. Style it so it looks like a ranch that’s been converted into a seafood place. I’m picturing your typical row of fish tanks – but with big plastic cows sitting inside. I’m seeing a wall with old photos that would appear to be of the wild west – but there appears to be a fisherman, or a deep sea diver, or a naval officer, hidden somewhere in each photo.

    The menu would be the same as a surf & turf – but instead of burying the steaks and ribs in the middle or back of the menu, they’d be the headline items.

    App #1 requires a lot of dedication, vision and cash to pull off. App #2 requires a careful balance and the courage to try something completely different. Both, imho, would work well if you can’t use your ‘ocean view’ as your differentiation from the competition.

  • NotThatBright

    I believe TragicLad is right in making it about the experience, although I disagree with the motif descriptions. The key, as this article was titled, is how to set a business apart from its competitors (and in a positive light).

    For a restaurant, it is about the experience. TragicLad’s reference to the rainforest cafe is a perfect example. You leave that place with a wow. That is the effect that should be created.

    If every other restaurant in the example has a view, suddenly the view is of less value. This opens the door for an alternative experience.

  • drakke

    I remember a marina called the ‘Inland Marina’ or something like that. We were looking to buy a hobie cat but the the name made us curious. It was just on a farm but it seemed special to us.

    It seems they took a concept that is naturally associated with the water and made it strange and unimaginable. I mean, how could a marina be ‘inland’. How would the boats get in?

  • http://www.propelpages.com spinball

    How about have the wait staff walk around in goofy paper pirate hats and frilly shirts. They could all gather and sing a pirate happy birthday song when it’s a customer’s birthday. LOL, just kidd’n. Where’s my diet coke.

  • gaby de wilde

    Use a lot of coral to decorate the place, use a liquid to make a light effect on the roof, sand on the floor. And a topless waitress dressed like a mer-made. hehehe