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Make your unique advantage clear with ONE word

Written by Rebecca Okamoto on Nov. 9, 2022

Explaining what you do is hard

Explaining what makes you unique?

Even harder.

And what if you have a breakthrough concept?

If your concept is new-to-the-world, it can feel nearly impossible to describe what makes it unique without going into a long and complicated explanation.

But what if…

What if you could use one word and make your unique advantage crystal clear?

It would be a game-changer, right?

Well, be prepared to change the game.

The word that changes everything is “without.”

Why “without” works

“Without” works because it changes your objective from describing your advantage to describing the benefit of your advantage.

You’re telling your audience you’re uniquely qualified because you can give them what they want while breaking a longstanding barrier or roadblock.

In other words, “without” shifts the focus from something difficult to describe to something your audience finds irresistible.

Here’s the framework:

  • I help [target audience] achieve [a benefit they desire] without [constraint they’re trying to crack]

"Without" is perfect for anyone who already has a differentiated solution or concept, but struggles to explain it simply and clearly.

Let’s say your company uses machine learning to look at analytics differently so you’re able to give your customers amazing results.

Here's what you would normally say to describe your advantage.

  • I help clients reach new audiences with proven ROI-backed analytics.
  • We use game-changing AI-powered analytics to give our clients cohesive strategies that are attuned to their brand’s positioning.

Compare that to showcasing the unique benefit.

  • I help companies reach and convert new customers without increasing marketing and promotion budgets.

In the “after” example you’re focusing on the benefit that your audience wants (reach and convert new customers) while breaking one of their biggest constraints (increasing budgets).

You can even add a reference to your advantage if the context is clear.

  • I help companies use analytics to reach and convert new customers without increasing marketing and promotion budgets.

Got it? You don’t have to explain your unique process to explain a unique benefit.

Here’s how to make “without” work

Focus on what your audience cares about the most

Most people want to explain what makes them unique: The formula. The patent. The technology.

That’s what leads to long, confusing, jargon-filled, and even boring explanations.

When you focus on what YOU want to explain, you’re not focused on what YOUR AUDIENCE wants and what they care about.

For example, you may want to highlight your very special ingredients that offer incredible benefits.

  • Our ingredients are sourced from a rare tea grown only on our farm nestled high in the mountains.

But what if your customer doesn't care how rare your ingredients are?

  • Style your hair without damaging heat.

Just because your unique value is important to you, doesn’t mean it’s important to your audience.

Make it easy for the audience to see the incredible benefits you offer first, and get them to ask how you do it.

Break conventional wisdom

A great way to quantify a unique benefit is by highlighting how your solution breaks conventional wisdom or an outdated process.

If you’re the market leader, this is a perfect way to differentiate your solutions when your competitors are making similar claims like, “outstanding, best-in-class, and industry-leading.”

Here's the before - a generic claim that lots of people can claim.

  • I offer companies breakthrough retention and engagement solutions.

Here's the after - breaking conventional wisdom.

  • I help businesses make a meaningful difference in retention and engagement without big budgets or complicated policies.

Change it up - use "with"

You can also use “with.” It’s particularly effective when you want to quantify the level of improvement.

Here's what you can say using "without."

  • Create a pipeline of high-converting copy without the effort.

Check out how much more compelling the benefit is when you can quantify the difference.

  • Create a pipeline of high-converting copy with half the effort.
  • Create a pipeline of high-converting copy with twice the speed.

Keep it short - 20 words or less

You only have seconds to grab someone’s attention. When you give your listener an engaging short message, it’s easy for them to remember AND share with others.

Bonus! If your message intrigues your audience, they’ll ask you to explain more. Suddenly you’ll go from pushing a long and complicated explanation to being pulled for more details.

Bottom line? If you want to build your brand, create a message that’s easy to share.

Try. Evaluate. Adjust.

You've invested time working on your statement, now you're ready to try it out.

If it goes great, hooray! Keep going. If it doesn't go well, or it only worked once, but not the second or third time, here are a few quick tips.

  • Confirm you're targeting the benefit your audience wants. Interview them. Research. Review their comments. Match their concerns and adjust.
  • Change the benefit if your customer changes. Different customer segments want different things. Change it up.
  • Practice. Your statement might be great, but your delivery could be off. Practice makes perfect.
  • Pivot. If you don't really have a unique concept, or it's easy to copy, or you’re still defining it, try another way to explain your value. Check out my post, 5 ways to introduce yourself perfectly in 20 words or less.

One word can change everything

Use “without” and showcase your advantage without long and complicated explanations.

Now that’s unique.

If you liked the post, please forward it to your friends and colleagues.

And if you have other tips and tools for explaining your unique advantage I’d love to hear about them. Just drop me an email at rebecca@20words.com



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