Does your business have a meaningful difference?


Every business, big or small, needs to give a customer some reason to choose their product or service. The best way to do this, is to define why your product or service is different from the competition and more importantly why your customers should care that it’s different. In short, you position your business as distinct in the market.

Positioning in practice

Over the last month or so we’ve seen Fonterra, New Zealand’s biggest company bring out a product that is truly distinct – a light proof milk bottle. As you’d expect Fonterra have been trumpeting this fancy new Anchor milk bottle as a major break through.

“It’s dark inside, just like a cow” they tell us. And yes, it’s a cute ad, but will customers actually find this difference relevant to their needs?

For starters most people presumably keep their milk in the fridge, which is dark. The only time it leaves the fridge is when you make a cup of tea etc, and then you put it straight back into the same dark fridge.

And it’s not like milk sits round for days on end anyway. Most families easily go through a bottle a day, so the milk doesn’t have much of a chance to lose it’s freshness.

The other thing about the new bottle is that you can’t see when you’re running low. You actually have to lift it up the bottle and shake it to see how much is left inside. This is somewhat annoying and once people get caught out, they may not buy again.

And the taste test? I’ve sampled the light proof and the clear plastic varieties and couldn’t tell one from the other.

From a marketing point of view, the new bottle does give Anchor a point of difference. However, it is highly debatable whether that difference is actually meaningful to Kiwi customers.

Maybe this new milk bottle will be a raging success. Maybe it will carve out a niche in the milk market. Maybe people will ignore it and buy the milk that’s on special.

When you’re positioning your business, would you want to pin your future revenue on a maybe?