Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Channels

The Four Cornerstones of Distinction

July 8, 2010
at 12:00 pm PST

Why in the world does everything seem to be the same?

This was a question posed by author and business thinker Scott McKain who took a hard look at many businesses that focus too much on sales transactions and not enough on building mutual relationships with customers.

We dug up this nugget from our Partner Summit 2010 coverage. And, though the event was a couple of months ago, we’re still digging up great footage from the various breakout sessions. 

In the session, entitled “Creating Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up in a Challenging Marketplace,” McKain offered ways to differentiate your business from the competition

So what advice did he offer? He pointed out that Cisco partners should focus on four cornerstones of distinction. What are they?

McKain also noted that successful companies consider these four cornerstones in this particular order.

  1. Clarity: It is important to be crystal clear about who you are in the marketplace, what you do, and what makes you different, because you cannot differentiate what you cannot define.
  2. Creativity: Pick one specific area where you’re going to do something different from the competition. You cannot change everything: You should just pick one point with which you’re going to make a difference.
  3. Communication: Customers want statistics and investment figures, but they want that information placed within a compelling narrative.
  4. Customer Experience: What does it feel like to do business with your company? Consider that from the customer’s perspective.

It certainly was a session chock-full of helpful information. Got any advice on how to differentiate in the ever-competitive marketplace? Share your ideas in the comments.

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.

1 Comments.


  1. Notes taken! For me communication and customer experience are where most businesses slack. Im guilty as well but its great to get reminders like this that keep me focused.

       0 likes