The truth is, it’s more than customer service or product features and benefits.
It’s about the whole brand experience that you deliver to your customer.
You see, differentiation is “a way to stand out from the noise and give people a reason to choose your business over others.”
(Michael Porter (Harvard Business School).
So, what is differentiation?
Differentiation is much bigger than the products you sell or the services that you deliver, it’s about the personality and characteristics of your business that set you apart from your key competitors and help you become more engaging and memorable.
Sounds logical doesn’t it? Yet, without a strategic direction, most businesses fall into the ‘me too’ approach when competing for new business.
Even striving to be the best at what you do, you can become smothered in a pool of noise. In this pool, businesses are all saying the same thing in the same way to the same audience, each one competing by trying to shout louder than the other.
How do we differentiate?
Differentiation strategies are opportunities to be different, creative and inventive and not always found in a textbook.
That said, of the many directions a differentiation strategy can take, there are 3 qualities they all have in common.
They have a necessary product or service that has importance and an indispensable value for your customer.
Think Deliveroo, Virgin and HSBC.
They are honest, sincere and free from pretence or duplication by a competitor.
Think Patagonia, Dove products and Chanel perfume.
They have or offer something unique and create products or emotions that are memorable. This could be different, stronger or bigger than anything that anyone else provides. While not always easy to achieve if you find it, you have a quality that has considerable longevity.
Think of Lego, Tesla and Apple.
Many differentiation opportunities can be derived from strategies used in other sectors and adapted to new ones. Other opportunities have developed from:
- Taking a different, innovative or disruptive approach to a business sector.
- A bespoke service to a niche sector.
- Specialising in a particular field or service.
- Adopting unique distribution or delivery channels.
- Personal experiences with problems that your sector audience experiences.
- Luxury or exclusivity of product or service. Ok, why is it important? It’s important because your business needs to thrive, not just survive. If you don’t give your customers a sound reason to choose you over others, you reduce your opportunity to succeed. With nothing memorable for customers to define you or recall you, you risk having no special place in your customer’s minds and left mainly to compete on price.
Any differentiation strategy must be driven from the top, the business owner, CEO or senior management. Differentiation is defined by 3 qualities of essential, authentic and unique and impacts every part of your brand. It enables you to be remembered by separating you from the pool of noise that your competitors occupy. Customers often pay a premium price to obtain what is different about a product or service and the added value it delivers. Like to talk about improving your point of difference?
Want to take your brand to another dimension that’s way beyond your logo, typeface and colour scheme?
We know how demanding it is to run, manage or start a business. For many Brand Strategy is something for big companies or that you have no need for, but you’re wrong.
‘A documented brand strategy is vitally important – Those that have one have a considerable market advantage.’ On brand Magazine.
That’s why, to make life easier for you, we created our personal Brand Strategy Planner. It sets out a course of action for improving your business brand and meeting your business growth objectives.
Brand Asset Creator, builds on the Brand strategy Planner foundations and develops corporate and marketing assets that consistently speak to your audience through relevant imagery, messaging, and tone of voice.
Why not talk to us;?
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