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Collapse of Distinction: Stand out and move up while your competition fails (NelsonFree) Hardcover – April 5, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Scott McKain formerly served as Vice Chairman of a dynamic holding company that was named one of the "fastest growing companies" in America. He is also the Co-founder and Principal of The Value Added Institute, a think-tank that examines the role of the customer experience in creating significant advances in the level of client loyalty. He has been honored with induction into the "Professional Speakers Hall of Fame" -- and is a member of the "Speakers Roundtable," an elite group of twenty business speakers considered by many to be among the best in the world. His client list for speeches, seminars and consulting is a "Who's Who" of corporations (such as GE, IBM, Phillips, and hundreds more). He has appeared on platforms in all fifty states of the US and fourteen countries. Scott also makes appearances on FOX News Channel and other major media outlets as an expert commentator. Scott, his wife, Tammy, and sons Corbin and Faron Byler live in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (April 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595551859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595551856
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Whenever I meet with a prospective consulting client in need of help with marketing, I always pose three basic questions that consumers tend to ask: Who are you? What do you do? Why should I care? The third question is the most important because one of the greatest challenges that organizations now face is to differentiate themselves and their products and services from competitors. In this volume, Scott McKain provides a wealth of information and counsel that can help decision-makers in almost any organization (regardless of size or nature) to "stand out and move up while [the] competition fails." In the introduction, he asks a basic question of his own: "Can your customers tell the difference between you and your competition?" In some instances, the answer is "no. "In other instances, the answer is "I have no idea." And in still other instances, the answer is "Yes, unfortunately." Whatever the response, the fact remains that - with rapidly increased commoditization and expanded globalization -- competition in almost every marketplace has become ferocious and is certain to become moreso. McKain provides a roadmap for understanding how the phenomenon of "sameness" happened and what to do in response to it. His function is to serve as a guide to assist his reader during efforts to make her or his business distinct in the marketplace. He outlines and discusses various strategies that, if executed effectively, can help to make a significant and (key word) sustainable difference to his reader's own customers and he succeeds brilliantly.

Distinction (or differentiation) initiatives must be based on a solid foundation. McCain identifies four and devotes a separate chapter to each: total Clarity about who and what the organization is...
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Format: Hardcover
I have had the privilege and the pain of working for numerous companies of varying size and proficiency. They all had one frustrating thing in common--none reached their promising potential. It was mainly because they (we!) could never differentiate themselves from the similar minded businesses hawking similar wares. After reading Collapse of Distinction, I have a clearer understanding why.

Most business books are long on pontificating and short on practical application. What I found refreshing in this book was the information was easy to digest and the main concept centered around a couple of small businesses in rural Indiana. Their contrasting attempts to overcome personal "David vs. Goliath" moments form the main ideas in the book--how do you stand out and succeed, especially when facing long odds and low capital? The answer makes perfect sense. Since reading the book, I have made a point to observe the businesses I frequent and conduct my own personal field tests. The establishments where the principles laid out by Mr. McKain are being followed (whether they know it or not) are not only busy, they have a better vibe. And that proves that you don't have to be Starbucks to be successful and cool. Read the book. Then you'll understand.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been pondering writing this review for six weeks or more but only just decided what I really wanted to say. The book is a good book. Make no mistake about that. You may learn something new from it...or, at least, gain a new perspective for your marketing endeavors.

A good book, but not a great book in my opinion.

However, I think it could have been a great book if it had been shorter and better focused. And if the author (or publisher) had not added so much fluff to stretch it out, particularly the "Executive Summary" at the end of every chapter. Those summaries serve little real purpose other than to add pages. The main text of each chapter is already well-organized with plenty of subheadings and pull quotes and, thus, is easy to scan to find what you want. The "Action Steps, Questions, and Ideas" add-on at the end of each chapter is a little better and more useful but doesn't really add much value (again, it mostly adds pages).

I absolutely agree with McKain that our society in general, and marketing of businesses in particular, has degenerated into an overall sameness with very little to differentiate one from another. The exceptions serve to prove the truth of the observations. In the first third of the book, McKain does an excellent job of answering the question "how did we get into this mess?" He addresses the various self-destructive decisions that business all too often make in an attempt to meet the competition rather than provide something unique and valuable to the customer.

McKain then sets out to offer concrete steps you can take to differentiate your business and its products or services from the overwhelming sameness in your marketplace.
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Format: Hardcover
Collapse of Distinction: Stand Up and Move Out While Your Competition Falls is an interesting book. The target audience is business owners who are looking for ways to make their businesses a success.

McKain's whole premise is that businesses are no longer distinct or individualistic. As a consumer, I found myself agreeing with much of what he said. After all, is there really that much difference between McDonald's, Burger King, or Wendy's? Yes, they have their slightly unique flavor but if you are traveling down the interstate and want a quick burger do you care which one is at the next exit?

If you are a business owner, McKain encourages you to focus on the one thing you do really well or the one thing that makes you different from everyone else. Market that difference to your customers while making them feel important and they'll keep coming back.

Why am I reviewing this book? Well, 10 years ago I owned a business (Pampered Chef consultant), my parents currently own a tire and oil change shop, and my brother owns a beef farm. I guess you could say business runs in the family.

But beyond the applications for businesses, I found much of what McKain said to be applicable to blogging (I write a blog). If you want to increase your blog readership then focus on those 1-3 topics you are passionate about. Then make your readers feel valued and they'll keep coming back to read about your passions.

If you own a business, are considering owning a business or own a blog I recommend you read this book.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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