Book review: Uncopyable

April 17, 2020
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You could have a better product, price or service than your competitors. Yet, there will always be someone doing improvements and delighting your customers based on these criteria.

It’s hard to compete on those terms and outsmart others in the long term. Fortunately, there’s another way to succeed in the market. It’s based on your ability to create your customers’ attachment to you. 

This happens in a personal, human-to-human, level including both personal and professional aspects. All the advantages such as loyalty and customer evangelism are results of this important and necessary component. 

In order to become uncopiable one needs to create a unique category where your customers’ are putting you. This makes direct product-to-product comparisons hard or impossible. You’re not even considered as an option or alternative –- in a positive way.

Having your own box comes with its terms. This means that you need to be different and do different things than the rest. This can polarise opinions about you but you’re not for everyone. Product features are easy to copy but intangible attachments to you are not. It can be impossible to imitate if you have been building a proper flywheel, a de facto moat around your business.

“You are in the business of selling and marketing widgets. The widget is incidental. It’s merely the deliverable for what you’re selling”

The whole purpose of marketing is to be on the prospective customers mind when they are ready to buy. Branding is an important part of this attachment creation. Besides of being different you need to resonate with your market with a memorable and unique value promise that is a logical choice for your prospects. Altogether your branding helps to reduce risks for both parties, a good reputation means credibility.

Miller presents five branding tools for uniqueness: 

1) own a word or phrase connected to your value promise 
2) own a colour 
3) create anchors for your value promise and triggers for them 
4) create your language, and finally 
5) shock and awe which is basically about delighting your customer in unexpected ways to make them go wow.

Customer attachment can be build by creating an exclusive club for your customers. You create something valuable that outsiders cannot have but can observe. This forms appeal and desirability for your prospects. It also works as a deterrent for existing customers to leave. In a larger club you can increase segmentation and have different levels of benefits based on the customer value.

Having a relationship with your customers in the club is a benefit that is hard to mimic. Experiences are unique and the resources and value you provide are circumstantial to your specific customer group.

Attachments can be utilised for opportunities outside of the core product or offering. You can help your customers in their business or help them to get marketing exposure. You’re serving others, and in the process building your trust relationship. You’re making your customers rock stars. Everyone craves for acknowledgement, validation, recognition and rewards, especially from their peers. How can you help your customers to have happier customers?

“A richly imprinted experience wants to be repeated. It wants to be remembered. And it wants to be shared.”

A marketing book is never complete without a rule book. In this case these are the ones for becoming uncopiable:

  • Observe others and don’t do what they are doing
  • There will always be a next step that is persuading a call-for-action
  • Be a big fish in a small pond than the other way around
  • A rolling stone – you can never stay still and leave things as they are
  • All business is business between humans
  • Controversial is good
  • Your real selling proposition is the attachment and experience with your customers

The final part of being unique is the capability of telling good stories. Miller’s book is very good at entertaining and providing illustrative examples based on his vast experience and use cases.