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One Marketing Move: Take Your Startup to the next level

This is how (exactly) you create an instant differentiation for your business.

They are big.

You are small.

They have marketing budgets in millions, and you rely on Word of Mouth (WoM), walk-ins, and Social Media to get noticed.

  • They have more marketing budgets.

  • They have a workforce.

  • They have more market share and volumes.

But you are trying to break their monopoly and conquer market shares and volumes.

What do you do?

You create your differentiation.

Leveraging a wealth of experience from steering marketing and digital transformation for leading brands, I am Rohit Verma. My expertise extends to guiding start-ups and smaller brands, where I craft compelling content and communication strategies designed to bolster customer engagement and loyalty.

Let's break down the how.

Step 1: Be radically transparent about your industry

All market leaders have the same weak point.

  • They're too slow.

  • They're too big.

  • They take years to make the smallest of decisions.

  • They're too boring.

On September 23, Amsterdam-based eyewear brand Ace & Tate told their customers, "Our Bad Moves. Look, we f*cked up". The Blog post boldly addressed a mistake they made around sustainability and their efforts to change.

The post outlined five of the misguided decisions Ace & Tate took while trying to become more sustainable as part of its recent B Corp Certifications: in one case, it overlooked its social impact and neglected to implement a code of conduct, which would have protected the workers in the supply chain.

Ace & Tate's Look we F*ckd up announcement
Ace & Tate

“One of the key learnings for our team is to focus on making good changes rather than changes that just look good, the post reads.

How many big corporations can be brave and bold enough to be so "radically transparent"? This "no-bullshit" approach requires another level of honesty missing in the big boardrooms. But smaller, more agile companies can pivot on this and get instant pay to build consumer trust and create a low-pressure environment.

This space is essential as it allows small brands to experiment and make inevitable mistakes, accelerating progress towards building a positioning that sets you apart from the prominent market leaders.

Keeping it humble, showing that the brand is a work in progress and being transparent about mistakes and limitations is a communication style that is not afforded the big brands, and that is why, after years of whitewashing the truth, no one trusts them behind their sugar-coated, multi-million dollar ad campaigns.

Take the personal message Loud Bodies founder Patricia Luiza Blaj posted on the Romanian slow fashion brand's Instagram account in July, explaining a predicament that saw her refund a resale platform and rescind stock once she found out it was owned by a fast fashion group that didn't pay garment workers during the pandemic. "I was so burnt out and desperate about our future that I didn't do my due diligence from the beginning,"

Blaj says in an interview. "For a brand with an average monthly income of $12-15,000, giving back an $8,000 advance and being stuck with $6,000 of fabric was terrifying.

But she instantly created an enduring trust that conveyed to her shareholders and community that she stands for transparency, and They're.

Patricia was not trying to position her brand as "better" but did succeed in setting her brand as "different".

Step 2: Break down your pricing for your customers

The devil is always in details.

As a Photographer, I regularly shoot for small businesses, designers, weddings and commercial adverts.

I learnt a precious but seemingly obvious secret there. Stop with silly secrets.

Freakin' show them what they are paying for.

An Illustration to show breakdown of prices for your customers for Photography
An Illustration by Rohit Verma to breakdown your pricing

But doesn't this give away all your "trade secrets"?

Pricing is not a trade secret.

You understand your pricing, and your competition does, but your customers don't understand it unless you open up. And they need to.

This makes you instantly stand out and creates considerable differentiation.

  • You're building an unthinkable amount of trust.

  • You're educating your customers on what they are paying for.

  • You're giving a tool to your customers for a comparable analysis to break down your competition's pricing.

Step 3: Create a differentiation on agility

Big organizations take decades to absorb and start utilizing a new technology.

Being a small fish, you can use Agile Test & Learn to experiment, learn and fail fast if you have to.

As this season's fashion weeks wrap up in London, Millan, New York and Paris, brands are working to produce and sell the designs they showcased this season - and they're starting next season's collections.

Many use OpenAI's ChatGPT, an excellent example of generative AI that allows designers to create new patterns and designs.

Other tools allow richer product creativity by collaborating with AI agents that generate creative options from data like past product lines, inspirational imagery and styles.

Personalization is a big one. You can customize your designs rapidly for a smaller segment of customers.


You can move fast.

Big ones can't. They need PowerPoints, Committees, CFTs, Budgeting, and Approvals, and by the time they start to ride a new trend home, times have changed.

Working at JCB instilled something in me early on—a Sense of Urgency.

You need to move fast. Agile, Transparent, Honest and Hardworking lot... always wins.

And you don't need to be a massive company for that.

All you need is hard work and speed.

If you've found value in these strategies and are ready to carve out your niche in the market, let's continue the conversation.

Share your experiences with radical transparency, pricing breakdowns, and agile innovation in the comments below. Have you tried these methods? What worked for you, and what didn't? Join the dialogue to gain and offer insights, connect with fellow trailblazers, and empower your business with community wisdom. Your story could be the beacon that guides others to success. Let's innovate together—comment, connect, and revolutionize how small businesses thrive.

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