November 2012


How do you differentiate your business, or product, from your competitor’s? I cannot tell you how many times a client has answered this question by saying,  “It’s simple, we offer exceptional customer service,” or, “it’s our people, they are smarter, more responsive and caring than our competitor’s.” The problem with this answer is that their competitors also think their people are the best and that their customer service is superior. To differentiate yourself you must find that one unique concept that moves what you have to offer from being a commodity, where price drives the buying decision, to a “must have.” When I conduct a business storytelling workshop, I often start with a great quote from Fast Company’s, Alan Webber, “All business is personal,” and the mistake we make in corporate America is parking our personalities at the door to the office. No audience will focus on what you have to say until they decide what they think about you, the presenter. Not you the Senior Vice President of Sales, or the research guru at a biotech company, but you Sam or Cynthia, the human. Audiences decide within the first thirty seconds if they are going to like and trust a speaker. The majority of this decision is based on non-verbal clues, such as your dress, posture, and eye contact, and the rest on the first words out of your mouth. Once an audience has decided if they like and trust you, everything you say in your presentation, sales pitch, or meeting is going to be judged through that negative or positive filter. Harsh, I know, but if you think about the last hiring decision you made, the last presentation you attended, the last product you bought and the person who was behind it you’ll see how universal the concept is. What makes a blog, a tweet, or a Linkedin/Facebook post worth your time? Obviously, it has to deliver value, but more than that, it has to guarantee a point of view that is different from the thousand others competing for your social media attention. In reviews of my workshops, and in client comments about the HollywoodWay’s work,  you will always see phrases such as, “tells it like it is,” “passionate,” and “ Jana makes ‘out of the box’ connections that strangely come together to create success.”
To date in this blog, I’ve been playing it safe, trying to be what I think the business community wants a consultant to talk, and act like, parking my left of center, forthright, personality at the door to the office, but no more. From this day forward, if you subscribe to my blog at, friend me on Linkedin or the HollywoodWay Facebook page, or follow my tweets @Janahollywodway, what you’re going to get is relevant, useful content, that’s pure Jana, the HollywoodWay. I’ll be talking about differentiation, likeability, storytelling, innovation, sales, powerpoints, and influence, through my passionate, on-point and off-center lens. I hope it inspires heated conversation and transformative action. I know it’s going to be worth checking out.
So come on, sign up and throw your two cents in. Let’s start with a simple question. What brand or product do you think does the best job of differentiating itself and why?  
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