Editorial note: This is a guide on how you can position your startup for growth. It is not an endorsement but it happens that irokoTV is a good example that communicates the lessons I will like to share with you.

Let’s start with the bad news.

The bad news is that many businesses are going to fail NOT because they are not good enough, but hugely because they are NOT communicating their unique value (USP) to the customers. ]

This is because:

In today’s competitive marketplace, having a great product is not enough; you need to communicate it as the best solution to a problem your ideal customer is willing to pay money to solve. And I am so excited to share with you how to differentiate your startup.

This is the year to. Differentiate.

Differentiate means that you communicate the thing that’s different about you…..something your prospects want or care about that will make them buy from you.

The starting point to differentiate your startup is to let your value proposition come first to show customers why they must spend money with you. It is your differentiator(s) that will help people know why they should choose you.

You don’t need to change your product; but you can change how you position it.

Take for an example: Which of the two businesses (who are selling the same product) gives a more compelling reason to this prospective customer to buy?

Business A: We Sell Weight-Loss Pills And Gym Membership. No Credit Today, Come Tomorrow.

Business B: Get Your Sexy Shape Back And Make Your Ex- Jealous. We Are Trusted by over 50,000 Women Like You.

Here are 5 questions to ask in order to arrive at your startup key differentiator.

1. Who is my target marketing, audience or niche?

2. What do I offer them (in a nutshell)?

3. How is what I offer them different from what others offer them?

4. What would they say is the most important thing I help them do or outcome I help them reach?

5. How do I help them do that thing?

Remember the goal of differentiation is to help your prospects know why to choose you. The enemy of decision-making is too many options. So try to stick to no more than three differentiators grand total for your startup, okay?—unless you have reason to do otherwise.

Also, how you communicate your unique selling proposition matters. It must meet the following criteria:

SHOW: It must describe the benefits of using your solution, with images to support these benefits-focused messages

TELL: It must describe the ways people will arrive at said benefits, with references to specific things that differentiate you.

Now, let’s focus on iROKOtv.

I chose iROKOtv because I got an email from their team late last year announcing the launch of their new website. This was a couple of weeks before the recent announcement that NetFlix is coming to Nigeria.

How is iROKOtv getting ready for this fight?

First let’s look at the current iROKOtv’s website. Be the judge and see that there is NO strong differentiation or reason why you should download the app or engage with it (except for the hero shot).

iROKOtv on Android

Now flip to their new website. (I will share snapshots later) to review how it is differentiating its offerings.

It seems IrokoTV is differentiating its service as….

The biggest collection of NollyWood movies that is curated by analysts, who work together to use themes and genres to recommend the best movies to watch

The above differentiation statement is the first step towards building a unique USP for your brand.

Do you want to craft a similar positioning statement for your startup ? Here are some ideas:

  • BENEFITS-FOCUSED: The only way for _____ to _____, [plus benefit/outcome].

  • FEATURES-FOCUSED: We’re the ones that _____.

  • BENEFITS- OR FEATURES-FOCUSED: The only way to _____.

  • GENERIC: We do X, but the difference is _____.

You can use any of the formular above to craft your USP. Your goal is that your website must communicate to the needs of your audience.

……….Back to iROKOtv

Let’s go back to IrokoTV and see what is currently going into their messaging?

NICHE MARKET – One of the major highlight for this new design is that iROKOtv aptly communicates it niche. “The best of Nollywood”. While NetFlix or ShowMax might fight on their own turf, Jason’s Launchpad is Nollywood content.

irokotv 2a

PEOPLE AND CATALOG – With the new design, the main message is that their collections are curated by people who know best movies to watch. Users are rest assured that she can watch the best movies based on the editorial reviews and opinions of other users.

Another major highlight for this new design is that the selections are now in categories, based on genres and moods. This classification system makes it easy for the users to “jump into the sea” of their catalogue.

The only thing missing detail is that there is no reference to the size of their catalogue (which is over 6,000 films). This is because customer likes to know that they can be spoilt for choice.

irokotv 3

A side comment: While I may not claim any credit since IrokoTV has a lot of intelligent executive in its team, it is noteworthy that I left a comment on Emmanuel Ogunsola’s post that points in the direction of this theme-focus movie recommendation.

irokotv| TechPoint Comment

TECHNOLOGY: iROKOtv offers a technology that allows its users to download movies and watch later. This serves the market better than streaming services which is a challenge in Nigeria.

irokotv 4

Where is iROKOtv’s hero shoot?

A hero shot is a visual representation of your offer that demonstrates how your product or service actually works so your prospects can picture themselves using it. The hero shot is generally a photo or a video and should clearly show benefits and context of use.

We can expect that when the site is fully launched, the hero shot will communicate iROKOtv’s most valuable USP with a good call to action. A notable mention of a good hero shot is PrognoStore, cofounded by Ade Olabode and this hero shot from VoguePay is straight forward.

voguepay USP

This post gives you 41 ideas on crafting the best hero shot for your website and provides link to other helpful resources.

What’s Next?

It is worth emphasizing that you need to differentiate by crafting a unique proposition for your business. You can’t afford to be nonchalant about this, especially as consumers are becoming more sophisticated.

To help you get started on your journey to differentiate your startup, you can download a copy of the “Startup Guide To Differentiation”. This is one of the most-prized books in my digital library. It is filled with ideas on how to distinguish your solution to make it more appealing to your audience (without making changes to the product itself), with over 10 examples specific to your own niche that you can learn from. This book is worth N6,000 ($25) and is yours

I work with leading startups to communicate messages that drive sales and revenue growth. If you need help with this, you can schedule to talk with me. 

    2 replies to "A guide on startup differentiation: Lessons from irokoTV"

    • […] by x-raying posts from his personal blog and recently I wrote about how his startup will probably outdo Netflix on Nollywood […]

    • […] Another positioning strategy from this interesting article by Conversion Scientist talks about the counterintuitive approach of serving a smaller audience, instead of being generic. The points raised validate with the recommendations I made about irokoTV surviving the NetFlix entry into Nigeria. […]

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