Why Being “Different” Isn’t Enough

Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t be “me-too.” So goes the conventional wisdom. Being different is where to be. But is different enough? This past week marked the end of a long-running battle about being different. BlackBerry said it will stop making its Classic model, the one with a physical, rather than touchscreen, keyboard.
Today, the physical keyboard – at one time the standard – is different. And there is a segment of the market that prefers the tactile sensation of a physical key. That segment is very satisfied with BlackBerry’s physical keyboard. And as other phone makers abandoned physical keyboards it allowed BlackBerry to grab more of that segment.
Yet they’re shutting it down. Why?
Because you can be different, appeal to a market segment, generate high satisfaction levels, dominate that segment … and still fail. It’s not about being different. The question is: Are you desirably different to a sufficiently large and growing market segment that will pay a price that makes your financial proposition viable?
Break that down. Desirably different. Sufficiently large and growing. A price that makes your financial proposition viable.
Different can be death. Ask the right question.
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