Video Transcription

How To Differentiate a Commodity

Now, the question becomes, “What if there is no Unique Mechanism?”

Understanding the level of customer sophistication in your marketplace and pairing that with your messaging is going to be incredibly important when building out your website, writing headlines and creating content. But, the question is, what if there is no Unique Mechanism?


Sometimes, in the product itself, the Unique Mechanism is completely apparent. It’s a novel product, there’s something new about it. For example, we worked with a publicly traded, cancer diagnostics company that has a unique and novel way of screening for cancer mutations. A way that none of their competitors are doing. So, in that sense, the Unique Mechanism is apparent, right?

But, if you have a product that you’re selling that doesn’t have that unique novelty about it, if it’s a commodity product, if you’re working with antibodies or ELISA kits, the way to get around that and make your message compelling is to ask yourself the question: What common component of your product or service is not being talked about by your competitors?

It doesn’t necessarily matter if everybody else is doing the same thing in terms of how the product or service works. But what if it’s not being talked about? That’s what matters.

The classic story of how this works is, legendary adman and copywriter Claude Hopkins was hired by Schlitz Beer to manage their national advertising campaign. When he was brought to the brewery, he was taken on a tour and shown all the different components of how the beer was made in the manufacturing process. But, as a side note, they showed him the water purification process. A lightbulb went off in his head, and he said, “Tell me more about that.” They were like, “Why do you care about water purification process? All other beers use purified water. There’s nothing different about that.”

What Claude Hopkins knew is that nobody else is talking about that. So, in his advertising campaign, he positioned Schlitz Beer as pure. As purified water. Through doing that, he took their sales from the position eight to the number one selling beer in America, for many, many years.

Unfortunately for their company, they later moved away from a Unique Positioning to the Brand Awareness model of advertising that is very popular. Today, nobody drinks Schlitz Beer anymore.

Lesson to be learned there is, not necessarily what is different about your company but, what is nobody else talking about.