Don’t Get Even – Do One Better

Drawing basketball strategy

Instances will occur when the competition strikes first. It’s inevitable, and the knee-jerk reaction is to try to match what they’ve done.

No matter how well you’ve prepared, competitors might scoop you by surpassing your amenities, securing a key locale to build or being the first to implement certain types of smart-home technology to the market.

Just like the classic idea of Keeping up with the Joneses by purchasing a new car when your neighbor gets one, it’s natural to want to duplicate success. That’s the mentality I, and I assume many others, had always possessed.

That’s until a certain instance in my career altered my approach whenever I’m in a situation where I’ve been bested. Now, this is an out-of-industry example, but the lesson learned can be incorporated into a company’s strategic marketing efforts to help one-up the competition.

My previous career was that of a sports reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, and I’d often help with the Denver Nuggets. In early 2009, then-Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony was sidelined with a wrist injury. His timetable for return was questionable and neither of Denver’s newspapers had given a definitive timeline.

Then, around Jan. 20, The Denver Post reported that Anthony would return on Jan. 30 against the Charlotte Bobcats. The competing newspaper beat us to the punch. Anyhow, the night the Post broke the story, the injured Anthony was doing a pre-game interview in the tunnel of the Pepsi Center. While all other reporters were in the arena preparing for the game, Nuggets lead reporter Chris Tomasson instructed me to wait for Anthony.

In a “get even” state of mind, I assumed Tomasson wanted me to independently confirm what Anthony had told The Post, that he’d return on Jan. 30. But Tomasson had other ideas.

He noticed that the Nuggets also had a big game against New Orleans two days prior to his projected return, so he advised that I ask Anthony whether Jan. 28 was a possibility to return. When I got my one-on-one interview with Anthony walking out to the floor, I asked that very question.

Anthony said something to the effect of: “To be honest, I just threw the date January 30 out there. I definitely haven’t ruled out returning earlier.”

So rather than getting even with the Post by independently confirming their story, we had information that somewhat contradicted what they had written and cast some doubt on their story. In a competitive media world, this is a win.

Extrapolated to multifamily, the same principle can be applied whichever role you play in the industry. If a competing property installs smart locks, do one better on the tech front by equipping residents with an Alexa device that allows them to control several smart-home features.

If the competitor proudly announces that they’re going to open their pool on May 25, open your pool a few days earlier – and do so with live music and drinks. While some one-up measures could be cost-prohibited, the primary idea is to think creatively about ways to surpass the competition.

Don’t get even – go beyond.

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