Wed 20 Jan 2016 | By:

The Secret of Thriving in a Competitive Industry

Secret of Thriving in a Competitive IndustryUnless you’re in the business of selling something nobody wants to buy, you will have many competitors.

If you have the best product or service in the world but nobody knows about it, you’ll be broke. If you have the best product or service but nobody can tell it from those of your competition, you’ll be broke. If you have the best product or service but nobody can remember your brand, you’ll be broke.

Jack Welch famously said, “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” I always add, “If you don’t protect your competitive advantage, you don’t have a competitive advantage.

Having a competitive advantage means being able to legitimately claim, “We are the only X that does Y.

It’s not enough to be better, it’s not enough to be the best. You need to be the only one.

And no, being “honest”, “personable”, or “results-oriented” won’t cut it!

Ideally, you want to have a truly unique product. As in, “We are the only amusement park that features a fully functional time machine”, or “We are the only manufacturer of industrial air conditioners capable of cooling down a 10,000 square feet hall by 20 degrees in 3 minutes”, or “We are the only restaurant that offers steaks made of real mammoth meat.

While having a unique product or service is always best, it’s not an easy task. First, you need to come up with something truly unique. But then you also need to make sure nobody copies your uniqueness, which ranges from very expensive in the best case scenario to outright impossible in the worst case scenario.

So how do you win this game?

It’s not about your product or service anymore. It’s all about packaging, branding and marketing your product or service.

A while ago, I saw an ad by Ford that illustrates my point perfectly. The ad closed with the following statement, “Only Ford has Ecoboost fuel economy!

The ad never explained what Ecoboost fuel economy actually is or how it is better (if at all) from all other options that exist on the market today. What matters is that only Ford has it. They are the only car manufacturer that equips their cars with Ecoboost fuel economy.

What would stop Honda from making the same claim? Turns out, Honda can’t use the word “EcoBoost”, because Ford trademarked it for automobiles and automobile engines!

Ford did not need to invent a revolutionary new type of engine (or even a revolutionary new fuel saving technology). All Ford needed to do was to come up with a name for whatever technology they already had and to trademark it.

McDonalds is the only restaurant you can buy Big Macs from. Not because other restaurants are not capable or are not allowed to make burgers, but because they can’t call their burgers Big Mac.

Anyone can use Kiyosaki’s idea about 4 different types of people—employees, self-employed, business owners and investors. However, Robert’s companies are the only ones authorized to make use of the cashflow quadrant:

There are many trademarking firms in the world, but there is only one Trademark Factory®.

You get the point.

Not only is trademark protection a very powerful tool for building and protecting your competitive advantage, it’s also very inexpensive.

Here’s how this strategy works:

  1. You figure out a feature that is important to your market. Ideally, it’d be a feature that makes you different or better than your competition, but it does not have to be;
  2. You come up with a unique name for that feature (this is the step that most inexperienced new business owners skip.) Make sure that the name does not simply describe the function (I’ll explain what “descriptive trademarks” are and why they are not registrable in my follow-up post);
  3. You trademark the name;
  4. You use the name on your website and in all your promotional materials.

Let’s take an example from a very competitive industry that most would consider less than very exciting—mortgage brokers. Let’s say you are a mortgage broker just like any other mortgage broker in your city. Of course, you are honest, personable, and results-oriented. But that’s not enough to differentiate you from your competition.

But what if you could claim that you are the only mortgage broker in the world who uses a proprietary IHNC Rate Calculator™ to determine the best mortgage rate for your clients? Much better, right? What does IHNC stand for? I Have No Clue.

If you can do this with mortgage brokers, imagine what YOU can do with clever branding and packaging in YOUR new business!

My upcoming article will cover what can and cannot be trademarked, but for now don’t hesitate and request your free, no obligation trademark search from us by filling out the form at

Yes, you got it right. You come up with a name, logo or tagline — and we’ll tell you, free of charge, whether that name, logo or tagline is trademark-able in Canada, the U.S. or European Union.

About Andrei Mincov

Andrei Mincov's 20-year career as an intellectual property lawyer began when his father, a well-known Russian composer, caught a radio station stealing his music. At the pinnacle of his Russian career, Andrei moved to Canada, where he founded Trademark Factory®, the only firm in the world that offers guaranteed flat-fee trademarking services. A bestselling author of 5 books, an international speaker, and a visionary, Andrei is passionate about helping entrepreneurs Protect their ideas and cover their assets®.