While driving through the state border between Pennsylvania and Delaware I noticed something interesting. On the sign welcoming travelers to Delaware there are a number of what I would call catch phrases describing the tiny State. I assume they are there to invite tourism and commerce. On this one single sign I saw the following: “The First State”, “Small Wonder”, and “Home of Tax Free Shopping”.
Being the curious type I started doing some research into what Delaware was really known for. Apparently each state has a motto, nicknames, both official and non-official, and various slogans. Here are Delaware’s:
Motto – “Liberty and Independence” – Um, didn’t see that on the sign.
Nicknames: Official – “The First State” – I understand that. Delaware was the first state to sign the constitution.
- “The Diamond State” – Where are those diamonds? If they’re here I haven’t found any.
- “Uncle Sam’s Pocket Handkerchief” – I have no idea.
- “The Peach State” – I thought that was Georgia.
- “The Blue Hen State” – I’ve learned that there is a variety of fowl called a Blue Hen and it’s the mascot for the University of Delaware.
- “The Chemical Capital” – Is that a good thing?
- “Delaware: It’s Good Being First” – Okay. Agreed.
- “Smaller, Faster, Smarter” – The “Smaller” part I get. I’m not so sure about “Faster”. I live in “Lower, Slower Delaware” so faster really doesn’t apply.
- “Delaware: Wow… You’re in Delaware” – Duh!
- “Delaware: We Really Do Like the Chemicals in Our Water” – Really?
- “Delaware: First and Forgotten” – Now there’s a slogan to be proud of.
- “Home of Tax Free Shopping” – I think we’re getting somewhere with this one.
All kidding aside, I question what the state of Delaware is all about. Is it known for its history, its tax free shopping, or its lovely and pristine beaches, (which are nowhere to be found in its motto, nicknames, or slogans – maybe they want to keep them a secret)? I don’t know about you, but looking through all of this I’m confused. Why would someone want to visit this state? What would draw one there? What is its niche?
The same confusion exists in businesses that haven’t defined their niche, the thing that makes them stand out from the rest. If your niche is not well defined, what would entice a customer to do business with you? What makes you different from any other supplier of products or services in your industry? Defining your niche is critical to your business success. It allows your customer to have a laser focus on what you do best. So state your niche and eliminate confusion. By the way, does anyone know what the heck “Uncle Sam’s Pocket Handkerchief” means?