Just be yourself
Welcome to the 'one-up race' and the quest to be someone you're not. I don't blame those who pretend anymore, I just feel sorry for them; they waste time and energy on a neverending chase that ultimately leads to just being a "me too".
As consumers we are assaulted with digital junk from emails to social media to eBooks and the daily "X tips to crush the competition". Our customers get exposed to the same information overload but unlike us professionals, they can't tell BS from brilliance, or can they? So much of what we are presented with as marketing is simply digital-tease masquerading as a secret 'something' that winds up being nothing more than self promoted crap that is cleverly designed to make you buy.
Here's the thing: There is a lot of pressure on us to get noticed and so we can't help but feel the need to one-up those who mastered the art of BS, but the results are consistent: BS is BS and less and less customers are falling for that crap.
In the age of "Difference", the only way to survive and build a strong business, so many marketers desperately want to be different and wind up being ordinary.
Identifying a genuine answer to "why should I do business with you?" is hard work. There you have it: rising above the noise and BS requires a tremendous amount of in-depth soul searching with savvy and competent understanding of marketing.
Lazy isn't an option, unless you do the one-up thing and wind up sounding like everyone else.
So what should you do to create real and lasting differentiation?
Start by being yourself. It's beyond just "the right thing to do", it is also smart business. I always loved this quote by Abraham Lincoln who surely had politicians on his mind but it equally applies to anyone, especially in business:
"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."
I believe that in the age of "I'm not really sure who I'm talking to?" the only way to be is genuine, and when you adopt this way of conducting business something magical happens; barriers disappear, you feel relaxed and most importantly, you do not have to keep up with your own BS.
Customers demand value and a great shopping experience and part of that experience is feeling comfortable. Did you buy a car lately? How often do you want to repeat that experience? Exactly my point. The truth isn't going to set you free, getting rid of BS or one-upping your competition or customers will for sure.
Here's a warning: Being genuine is not a guarantee for success; you still have to be really good at what you do, offer a level of competence that is unique and then bundle it with value and the type of experience that drives customers to want to relive who you are and what you offer.