Standing Out: A Lesson on Proclaiming Purpose

Josh Allison, CUDE, Founder and Chief Ideator, Think Cafe Consulting

We all use the internet. We all search for things on it. And we all have a choice in the browser we want to use (except on our work browsers, of course) to search the World Wide Web. Browser choices that include big names like Internet Explorer and Chrome. For the most part, all of them offer the same search and browsing capabilities.

Right now, there is currently a browser war going on between Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox – all of them competing for consumer preference and utilization.

So how does one browser choice stand out from the others? In the case of Firefox, they started by first communicating their cause.

Unlike the other big names, Firefox is nonprofit. And instead of minimizing this point when recruiting new users, they chose to proclaim it. Instead of opting not to talk about their organizational structure difference, they embraced it. They started with the one thing the other browser choices couldn’t compete with: purpose.

In their “What is Mozilla Video?” they explain how they are the browser that’s different:

  • “We don’t have a fancy stock abbreviation to go alongside our name in the press”
  • “We don’t have a profit margin”
  • “Where another company might value the bottom line, we value…well, values”
  • “We don’t make the same deals, sign the same contracts or shake the same hands”
  • “We’re not beholden to stake, share or power holders…we answer to no one…but you”

On their website, the headline letters boldly state: “Different by Design”. And in later videos they released, they share a compelling narrative of how Firefox was designed to be the internet browser alternative:

  • “We’re a nonprofit fighting to protect the web we all love. Join us.”

A message, if you think about it, that is very similar to the for profit bank alternative we have provided consumers over the last one hundred years in America.

So, why does the Firefox approach matter to credit unions?

Because as the world continues to progress further into product and service commoditization, it is becoming harder to differentiate a brand through traditional product, price, place and promotion strategies.

As consumers, we already expect, assume and demand product and service equitability. If we don’t get it, we leave (Netflix), quit (Bank of America) or protest (BP).

Why? Because we know we can get it somewhere else, somewhere close, for the same price and immediately.

This explains the continued emergence of socially responsible consumers who are rewarding and punishing brands based on their corporate values. Well documented by BBMG, Edelman and ConeInc, these consumers are pushing past the plastic covering on the product and are searching for what corporations are really made of.

Values, more and more, will be the emerging differentiator in the 21st century marketplace. The competition is fierce for Firefox. And it’s fierce for us, too.

Firefox understood the unique advantage they had in their organizational difference and successfully communicated it with their users. The question is, will we?

Josh Allison is the founder and Chief Ideator for Think Café, a CU consulting company committed to authenticity and relevance. He is a passionate public speaker and has been invited to present on a number of topics related to youth outreach, relationship management and cu philosophy. His youth and business development programs have garnered national awards and recognitions, and he has been cited in the CU Times and multiple cu blogs for his innovation and ideas.

Josh Allison

Josh Allison

Josh Allison is the founder and Chief Ideator for Think Café and a Senior Consultant for FI-Strategies, LLC. He has spoken and worked with organizations from Hawaii to New York ... Web: Details