What Good Is Uniqueness If A Competitor Can Easily Copy It?

by Sean D'Souza

positioning: what good is uniqueness if it can be copied?

Positioning your brand may be a tough exercise. However what’s tougher is defending your position. Because the moment you have a great positioning statement or a great uniqueness, it’s likely that your competition is waiting to take it off you.

So how do you stop them?
It’s a free country, and probably a free world, so you can’t really stop anybody. However, you can make it very hard for them to copy your factor of uniqueness. And the way to do this is to have a second level uniqueness factor in place.

But wait, what’s a top level factor of uniqueness?
The first or top level of uniqueness is simply when you state your adjective, whatever that might be. So when you come with an adjective like grumpy, pedantic, tough, safe, you have won half the battle. Because now you are able to describe your product or service almost in a single word. Or at least a single phrase.

But this isn’t going to help you very much if the competition decides to step in…
But let’s assume your competition isn’t so nasty. Do you still have to have a second-level of uniqueness? Of course you do. The average customer is bombarded with so much information, that they find it difficult to distinguish between the uniqueness of one brand vs. the other. When there’s a clear second-level of uniqueness, they know exactly why they should choose you, because you’ve given them the exact phrase or term that stands out from the rest of the pack.

So what’s the second level uniqueness?
The second level of uniqueness is where you add a certain factor that simply cannot be copied. So for instance, we have the Article Writing Course. The Article Writing Course is called the ‘toughest’ in the world. Easy to copy, huh? Yes indeed.

But we slammed in a second-level: We called it ‘baby-toughness’
This means that it’s not dog level toughness, or cat level, but it’s as crazy as having a new born in the house. You don’t get any sleep at all for a long, long time. Now sure, you can come along and try to copy that factor of uniqueness, but you’ll struggle because now everyone recognises that second-level uniqueness as belonging to Psychotactics—and not to you.

Which is why Dominos got so busy so quickly
They were just another pizza company. They too had a first level of uniqueness. It was a factor of speed. But they tossed in a second level. They said “30 Minutes or it’s free”. Now that became super-hard to copy. That uniqueness belonged to Dominos, and Dominos alone. It would be hard, even impossible to copy it without making an utter fool of your own company.

So how do you get to this second-level of uniqueness?
Can you compare your product or service with something else? Does an image spring to mind? If so, you are now moving down the road to the second-level of uniqueness. A level that is hard to copy.

But what if you can’t get figure out how to get to the second-level at all?
You may try really hard to get to the second level of uniqueness, and not make much headway. And technically speaking, that’s not a problem at this stage (and that’s because the follow-up video will tell you just how to do it).

But there’s another reason as well. When we started out with several of our products and services, we didn’t really know what the second level of uniqueness was right at the start. But we describe our products and services to clients, and then something would either pop out off our own mouth, or the client would say something that instantly got our attention.

That’s how we got to “baby-tough”
We didn’t think of it at first, but the client came up with that concept. And so we just slapped it on our uniqueness. And that’s what you should do as well, because if you try to do it all at one go it’s too stressful. Start with getting to your first level of uniqueness, and let it sit with you a while. At some point in time, the second level of uniqueness will show up.

Coming Next: Second Level Uniqueness

P.S. Introducing the Uniqueness Mastery Home Study
The Uniqueness Mastery Home Study is a precise system that enables you to get your product or service to stand out. And not just stand out in a garish, uncomfortable way, but in a manner where the customer knows exactly why they’re choosing you over the competition. It follows a system that that shows you how to get to your uniqueness.  Find out more Uniqueness Mastery Home Study

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

The Dance of Shiva January 20, 2012 at 8:05 am

I’m guessing that the second level of uniqueness isn’t just “stuffing” the first level?

Related to what you said (or wrote) about customers helping you come up with your uniqueness, I had that for my first level. I was working on a uniqueness of this site. In the meantime I asked a subscriber for some feedback on my email course, and she handed my top level uniqueness to me on a plate.

I think in some instances, finding your uniqueness is a process, you have to put yourself (or your product) out there first, play around a bit, see how the customer responds… which thinking about it is what happened to subway (the too small for his pants guy…)


Sean D'Souza January 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm

It is a process. But that doesn’t mean it has to take forever.


Wyn January 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm

LOVE this cartoon. It is SO spot-on to what happens when you have a great uniqueness. This happened to a friend of mine, and her competition ran away with all the moolah. She got very disheartened.


Sean D'Souza January 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Thanks Wyn. 🙂


Nadira Jamal January 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm

I’m glad to hear that whining turned out to be so helpful. I’ll keep it up. 🙂


Sean D'Souza January 20, 2012 at 8:22 pm

What whining?


Nadira Jamal January 25, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Whining about the AWC workload (or lack of expectation-setting about it), and how I thought I was getting a dog, but it was more like having a baby.


Sean D'Souza January 26, 2012 at 8:29 am

Oh, I get it now!


Wiz January 27, 2012 at 11:17 pm

I remember that day when “baby level” was born!

Yay, Nadira – she who wields the “Sword of Jamal” . . .


Sean D'Souza January 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Yes, you never know where you going to get your uniqueness from. But I was lucky at that point. And luck is not always the best strategy.

Stan Barrett January 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Hi Sean,
Thank you for the reminder on uniqness, Our Motto for 25 plus years is Phil’s has the lowest price…Period
My second uniqness to be added will be
We are not satified untill you are.
Thank you


Sean D'Souza January 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Um, uniqueness is about ONE 🙂
So having a second uniqueness doesn’t help.

Also the ‘lowest price’ doesn’t tell me much.
If you say “Our margins are just 5.5%”, then it tells me exactly what I want to know.
Customers aren’t very moved by general sounding uniqueness statements.


Sean D'Souza January 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm

And you don’t have to trust me.
Just ask the next 20 customers to tell you why you’re unique.
If they all say different things, then you have to go back and work harder on that uniqueness.
Because then it’s just a motto, not a uniqueness. And you may actually be able to increase your prices 🙂


Roland Kopp-Wichmann January 28, 2012 at 11:31 am

Hi Sean,
I liked very much this post and it made me think about my slogan. I am doing intense personality-workshops (3 days with only 6 participants).

After reading your article my previous slogan “Personality seminars that work deeper” didn’t satisfy me any more.
Now I come up with “We find the solution where you never looked for” because that is a common feedback from people during the seminar.
What do you think? Is it “unique”enough?
Thanks from Germany


Sean D'Souza January 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm

No, because it’s still not telling me what that specific thing is. It’s kind of vague.


Sean D'Souza January 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Can you give me an example of “the solution that you never look for”?


Sean D'Souza January 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm

What interested me more in your comments, was that you said you were doing intense-personality workshops. What makes them so intense?


Peter Crawford January 30, 2012 at 8:47 am

Hi Sean – very interesting series. My company outfits walking tours in Italy. Each tour is made to measure, meaning we don’t do pre-scheduled big group tours – rather, you tell us your travel dates, preferred accommodation level, activity level, etc. and we build your tour for you.

That’s our uniqueness, which I sum up as “Every trip made to measure.” Now, some companies do offer some level of customization. Therefore, your suggestion of a second level is quite interesting. And for that I’ve thought of the following:

“Every trip made to measure (the way true travel is meant to be).”

Is that leaning in the right direction? If so, how would you improve it? If not, please set me back on track… 🙂

Thanks again for everything you do (5000bc is always great – even for lurkers like me…. )


Sean D'Souza January 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Let me get back soon.


Sean D'Souza February 3, 2012 at 3:39 am



Sean D'Souza February 3, 2012 at 3:42 am

Not really. Because it’s not clear what you mean by “Every trip made to measure (the way true travel is meant to be).” It comes across more as a catch phrase. But there is a uniqueness there. What you need to do is watch those three videos and make the list. Forget the phrase. If for instance you have ‘extreme customisation’ then what does that mean? I need to know. And oh, I’m coming to Italy in May 🙂


Peter Crawford February 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Got it. Something like “Every trip made to measure in five different ways (or more)” might work better?

Whereabouts in Italy will you be? On business and pleasure, or just pleasure?


Sean D'Souza February 4, 2012 at 8:23 pm

On vacation. I haven’t decided. You tell me where I should go 🙂 P.S. I like food. 🙂


Sean D'Souza February 4, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Something like that, but not quite. You may want to start up a post in 5000bc.com and let me walk you through it.


Tim Kisner February 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Hi Peter and Sean,
I might be getting off track, so if it’s alright can I ask for a little help?
I saw Peter’s catch phrase, “Every trip made to measure” as triggering a question. As in, “How do you do that?” Then, he could describe his uniqueness. I guess what he wrote in his first paragraph is how he would answer the question.
Am I looking at it right? Is his catch phrase testable as a good trigger to be followed with a good explanation of his uniqueness?


Peter Crawford February 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

Tim, I just saw your post. I thought of it in the same way as you suggest – as triggering the question. I ended up posting the discussion in 5000bc and it took off from there. The 10 word recap: I need to back up and (re)do my target profile.

Good job on signing up for the workshop – wish I could have made it… 🙂


Vikram Narayan March 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I loved this series. The Brain Audit and 5,000 BC have also been extremely helpful to me in the past. Someday I hope to be able to attend a workshop in person. Thanks!


Sean D'Souza March 19, 2012 at 11:48 pm

We’re headed to California soon.


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