Chick-fil-A has a restaurant within Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta where this year’s Super Bowl was played.
Like all of their locations, that one was closed on Super Bowl Sunday.
An acquaintance remarked to me that it is a marketing debacle to have a “Sorry, We’re Closed” sign up that day.
I suggested the opposite might be true… and I doubt that they are “sorry” about it.
From a pure business standpoint, you may or may not agree with the strategy of closing restaurants on one of the busiest retail days each week.
However, it makes a clear statement that they are not part of a homogenous pack.
The fact that Chick-fil-A is arguably the most successful restaurant chain of the past decade suggests their policy is not hampering them.
Their service satisfaction scores are usually the industry’s best and their customers are incredibly loyal.
One of the greatest challenges of any business is differentiating itself in some way in customers’ minds. Banks have faced this challenge as much as any businesses through the years.
Going back a few decades, the greatest differentiator of any bank was the number of branches it operated in a market.
In many folks’ minds, a bank was a bank was a bank. Differentiation was the most accessible branch.
That is not as true today. The ability of banks to expand into markets with ubiquitous mobile technology and fewer physical branches makes the differentiation challenge tougher than ever.
Lack of differentiation leads to lack of customer preference, lack of loyalty, and shrinking margins.
I often smile and nod when bankers tell me that their differentiation is their people.
Yes, I believe that is true.
I also know that is what everyone says. Far fewer can succinctly explain what that means.
If we cannot point to clear traits, practices, or policies that make our companies distinct, how could we expect customers to?
What philosophies define your culture? What makes you…you?
Most industries have a certain amount of copycat behavior in them. That’s the nature of the beast in crowded, highly-competitive businesses.
Your distinguishing traits may be subtle…or bold. Whatever they are, never stop reinforcing them to your teams and customers.
Be the best and most unique “you” possible.
Then, you do you.