With our sweltering summery weather destined to come to an abrupt end, I thought I'd finish the week with a nice seaside image. Those of us of a 'certain age' will remember those 'Where's Wally?' books that we used to pore over with our kids. Well, here's Wally on a very crowded beach...if you can spot him. I can't, but then my motivation isn't that high.
Sometimes, identifying value in a product-provider's offering is about as challenging as locating Wally. We know it's there somewhere, we just can't spot it. After a while, we begin to think, 'Surely, there is value here, after all?' And then, after a great deal more scrutiny and effort, we're beginning to form the opinion that if there is value in this proposition, it's so well hidden that it might as well not be there.
There may be a good reason for the fruitless effort, and it may not just be down to myopia. It does feel as if there are product-providers out there where there is genuinely nothing innovative that distinguishes them from the competition. Initially, it may all look promising (that impressive beach scene), but spend a little while with a magnifying glass and the conviction grows that there is little substance to back up the hype. Sometimes, one finds oneself attempting to invent USPs for a provider which apparently has so little in place to justify its existence. That should not be our role.
Of course, it is all-too easy to point the finger elsewhere. Sometimes, the 'Where's Wally?' conundrum plays out rather closer to home. What are the features of our own advisory propositions which stand out from the crowd? What is it that makes us distinctive? And is that distinctive something that is merely cosmetic, or does it actually add value for the client?
'Where's Wally?' may be a bit of fun, but for most people it's short-lived. In the end, the novelty wears off, and our interest wanes. We end up not caring whether there even is a Wally in the picture at all - let's avoid putting our clients through that kind of ordeal by making sure that we have monumental propositions that deliver value in spades (and buckets).