It was playing out right in front of my eyes.
Two Greek restaurants a block away on a busy street. One has a line outside winding down the blog, folks waiting 30 minutes or more. The other is virtually empty.
So how do you measure success if you're a Greek restaurant on this street? Do you compare yourself to the one with the line and mimic everything that might be key to what makes it tick?
Or do you forge your own path under the belief that copying a brilliant success down the street will only reinforce what makes your competitor successful without inducing anyone to try YOUR place for reasons which are yours?
In other words, do you compare yourself to your competitor, feature by feature? Or do you go beyond comparison and invent new features, new benefits, new reasons to stand in a line outside YOUR restaurant?
This is a problem common to all competitive situations, not simply restaurants – or radio. It is why there are so many "battles to a tie" and so many situations where even seasoned and successful broadcasters are stymied when they're asked "what's the difference between you and your direct competitor?"
Maybe the problem is that you HAVE a direct competitor.
Because being beyond comparison means creating a category all your own, no matter who plays what you play. It means doing things nobody else is doing, not doing things because everybody else is doing them.
That's something to ponder. Because the best way to battle a line outside their door is to motivate one to form outside your own.