How Sticking to Their Principles Helped Zappos and Tom’s of Maine Step Ahead of Their Competition


7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Capturing market share in a competitive industry is a matter of differentiation. When Tesla saw that its rivals favored function over form, it positioned itself as a sleek alternative to more prosaic vehicles like the Toyota Prius or the Chevy Volt. Chipotle marketed itself as a fresh, authentic alternative to Taco Bell. Uber became the business alternative to Lyft. 

That’s standard branding practice. But what about using principles to position your business? Can making character be part of your company’s signature to make you distinctive without seeming gimmicky? 

While there are potential pitfalls to a character-based approach, two enterprises have found surprising success: Zappos and Tom’s of Maine. Here’s what they can teach entrepreneurs:

1. Go to extremes for customers

A quirky startup with a funny name, Zappos is no longer a joke. From a modest

Read More