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Rising Above: Gaining Competitive Advantage.

rise above the competition

The foundation of competitive advantage in your startup or early-stage business is not built through the conventional wisdom of the branding, marketing, and advertising worlds.


We no longer live in the age of persuasion.


We live in the age of opt-in or opt-out. 

To get off the ground, grow and scale in the marketplace, your competitive advantage is based on an “idea of value” customers love, can’t live without, and can’t get from anybody else. Your idea of value is not based in the attribute qualities or the functional benefits provided by your products and services. In crowded categories, that’s table stakes. 

An idea of value is a mental construct, not a physical thing. Your idea of value lives in the mind of a customer. It’s value is always in the eye of the beholder. Products and services are simply a mechanism that facilitates and supports the idea of value you bring to the mind and experience of a customer. The idea of value your business represents is based on the transformative impact it has on the customer’s experience doing business with you.


In other words, your behavior – what your business stands for, how your business creates value that matters to an expanding group of customers and clients. Competitive advantage in the marketplace is a high bar and eludes most founders. This is why most startups never get beyond the early-struggle phase. Most don’t have a compelling idea of value that forms a battle cry organizing people and money around a common mission to create something unique and remarkable.  

If you want to build competitive advantage to grow and scale your business, creating logos and marketing campaigns is not the place to start.

Start with your behavior. 


Your behavior is code–spiritual software that drives every function of your business to deliver on what your idea of value promises.


Within the context of competitive commerce, the behavior style of an enterprise takes two forms:


Competitive behavior.


You only win when somebody else loses. You only bring products to market based in incremental user needs, and abundantly available from other sources. You’ll be forced to compete at the lowest price. Crazy ideas that are without form and are unproven will be discounted (shunned) in favor of safer known concepts and the status quo. Your culture will be motivated by control, competition, and survival.


Creative behavior. 


You’ll innovate and design products that redefine the market, delighting customers with the unexpected and making competition irrelevant. Your customers will experience more use value than they pay in cash value–making price irrelevant. Your culture will be focused on turning possibilities into realities. You will not count transactions but create experiences people love and build levels of trust that marketing and advertising money simply can’t buy. There will be no shortage in the supply of opportunity.


Your competitive advantage with customers and clients is determine by the behavioral style you and your organization emulate (the quality of your presence).


Competitive advantage is brand power based on an “idea of value” customers love, can’t live without, and can’t get from anybody else. Brand Power is based on the strength of four foundational pillars supporting your competitive advantage.


Your Vision.

Your Leadership.

Your Value Creation.

Your Impact.


You can watch a short video on the four-pillar strategic framework that I use in my advisory work with startup and early-stage founders developing their strategy for competitive advantage:



The marketplace is unforgiving territory for the startup without a foundational strategy for strengthening competitive advantage.


Without it, branding and marketing will be of little use.


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