The Advancing Leadership Blog

Differentiate Your Brand To Win: How Gibson’s Cleaners Clearly Differentiates Their Services

TEC Canada is comprised of the most influential leaders and entrepreneurs from high-performing organizations across the country. These Members have compelling stories to tell about building brands that stick and creating messages that resonate. TEC has partnered with Sticky Branding to bring you these stories about the successful brands of our Members, like Gibson’s Cleaners. The article first appeared on Sticky Branding.

You won’t create a sticky brand without a clear differentiator.

This is especially true for companies operating in highly commoditized industries with giant competitors. Gibson’s falls into this dynamic. They are a minnow compared to the giants of the uniform rental industry, but they have tilted the odds in their favor.

Gibson’s competes and wins against the giants, because they know where they play, how they win, and what makes them unique. They have differentiated their business to win.

Differentiate with unique capabilities

Instead of competing toe-to-toe with the giants, Gibson’s has differentiated their business with capabilities not offered elsewhere.

Rob McConnell, President of Gibson’s explains, “We are the only uniform rental company to offer wet and dry cleaning services with professional finishing equipment. As far as I know, none of our competitors have these capabilities. They don’t have the finishing equipment, and outsource that step if a client demands it.”

Gibson’s unique capabilities gives them an advantage, because they can provide pressed pants and shirts as part of a uniform rental program. This is a valued service for image conscious companies like car dealerships, retailers and delivery services that want their people to stand out.

Companies that want their employees to look a cut above the industry norm will seek out Gibson’s unique capabilities. The uniforms don’t look like they went through an industrial laundromat. They are polished, professional and premium.

Know what customers fit

Not every company will value or want a premium service, and that’s okay. Effective differentiation draws the right customers to you, and pushes the wrong ones away.

Rob explains, “We are recognized as the highest performing and most responsive company in the uniform and facilities service industry. Our mission is to be the first choice service provider for brand conscious companies.”

“Brand conscious companies” is an excellent qualifier. Gibson’s doesn’t compete toe-to-toe with the big guys, because they know their strengths and where they are valued. Rob continues, “We go after businesses who have a genuine interest in their brand, and the way they present their employees.”

The qualifier is effective, because customers can self-select if they are a fit for Gibson’s. Are they shopping on price or image? Companies that are trying to enhance the appearance of their employees will naturally gravitate towards Gibson’s. And the companies shopping strictly for the cheapest price will go elsewhere.

Price is secondary

When the market can’t distinguish one competitor from the next they default to the cheapest option. This is great for the big guys, because they can compete and win with their economies of scale. But competing on price is a detrimental position for small and mid-sized companies.

A strong point of differentiation protects your company, and reduces price sensitivity. It signals to the market that your company is unique, and it will attract the customers that value your expertise.

Gibson’s is rising above the herd by purposefully focusing on where they can be the best in their marketplace. This is an important lesson. Sticky brands are not all things to all people. They win by being different.

Author bio

Jeremy Miller is a Keynote Speaker, Brand Builder and the President of Sticky Branding — a brand consulting agency. Jeremy regularly speaks and consults with companies, both large and small, about how to stand out, challenge the giants of their industry and grow incredible brands. For more information visit You can reach Jeremy at 416.479.4403.

TEC Member Profile

Gibson’s Cleaners helps companies enhance their corporate image and improve their employee morale with outstanding uniforms. They are recognized as the highest performing most response company in the uniform and facilities service industry. Their mission is to be the first choice service provider for brand conscious companies.

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