It’s probably the most over-used and clichéd phrase in business (can you guess?), that’s right, COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE.

Business leaders and academics have been fascinated by the concept ever since Michael E Porter coined the phrase back in the mid 80’s. Books have been written about it, various business models crafted and millions of pounds spent on proving to customers that Company A is a better, wiser, smarter investment that Company B.

In recent decades the battleground for competitive advantage have been fought on product features, pricing, technology differentiation and most recently around customer service and the customer experience.

But what’s next?

What happens when most competing brands have a similar set of products and services, similar pricing structures and an altogether positive customer experience?

What’s will be the next battleground for differentiation?

Welcome to the Age of Compassion.

Many trends are happening across the world that point towards the notion that we are becoming more compassionate, more values driven, more empathetic and more conscious about the choices we make when selecting brands and companies we want to work with.

How many of us crave to work for a company where the motivation goes way beyond the pay cheque at the end of the month? How many of us want more meaning and purpose in our lives? How many of us want to give something back to society or the communities in which we live? How many of us want to do our small little bit to ensure the planet is in good health for our children and the generations that will follow?

Does this sound like you? Well let me tell you, you’re not alone.

In our work environment many of us are actively seeking to work with and partner with organisations that help make that emotional connection for us. As human beings we can effortlessly look beyond the sales jargon and marketing messages that brands push out and take a more personal view i.e. we look for the stuff behind the marketing hype i.e. brand body language:

  • We look for an alignment of corporate and personal values.
  • We look for visible signs of high levels of employee energy and engagement.
  • We look for ongoing commitments to social responsibility and positive impact on the environment.
  • We look for authenticity.
  • We look for companies who genuinely care and overcommit.

In other words it’s the non marketing stuff that a company/brand does that reflects its true character in an open and honest way that helps us make the real decision about which brand or company to choose. And yes, a lot of this stuff happens at a sub-conscious level, but let me reassure you it happens and it happens on a regular basis.

How many times have you lost a big tender or pitch when you thought you had nailed every detail of the proposal and had the credentials to deliver? Why did you lose; my guess is you lost on an intangible i.e. you lost out emotionally!

In a recent survey by Google into the buying habits of B2B buyers they uncovered the vital importance of emotional selling at the beginning and the end of selecting a B2B brand.

The companies that are already taking advantage of the Age of Compassion have some key ingredients:

  • They have a clearly defined sense of Purpose?
  • They work tirelessly to live by their values?
  • They commit time, energy and resources to helping tackle sector and society/community issues?
  • They trust their employees to do the ‘right thing’ and encourage participation beyond their job roles.
  • They never take their eye off the basics of their business
  • They out-perform their sector in financial terms by at least a multiple of x 10

Do a quick audit on how many of these key ingredients your company has and then lets talk.

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