I recently saw somebody announcing their friend’s new sparkling water company.
The website said it had “just the right amount of carbonation” and something along the lines of having a “bold yet classic flavour”.
I’m other words, they weren’t taking any stances. They were playing it safe.
In Europe, it’s common to be able to choose a sparking water by the amount of carbonation it has. Some are lightly carbonated and some are a lot more fizzy.
They could have chosen to be the fizziest, or the smoothest, or maybe even have options for both. But they chose to play it safe.
And by taking the middle road on flavour and carbonation, they lost an opportunity to be different. Like most new companies, they seek to look the same as the competition in the hopes they blend in and get picked.
But the reality is, without a hook or differentiator, it will be harder to stand out. There will be no word-of-mouth factor, which is critical for any business.
The middle way may feel like the safe way to reach more people, but you don’t get people’s attention in the middle.
Optimize for the edges.