“Surprise and differentiation have far more impact than noise does.” – Seth Godin
The crisis for brand differentiation can be felt strongly by businesses all around the globe and in-virtually every industry. The importance of differentiation is not a new idea. Furthermore, customers make purchase decisions based primarily on price when a brand is perceived as being interchangeable. This will inhibit you from commanding premium pricing which translates to lower product margins, reduced profitability lower revenue and reduced market share. Simply put, failure to differentiate your brand may cost you your business in the long run.
Despite its undeniable importance and advantages, companies still turn a blind eye on differentiating their brand. Brands can’t seem to get out of their own way, every time one discovers something that works well, others start to copy the idea. The good news is that brands can break the monotony if only they remember what it means to be different. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Establish Your Positioning
It is essential for your brand to establish a compelling and unique positioning. This is done with the intention of attracting and resonating with all your customers and stakeholders. Every single aspect of your brand activation must be rooted and consistent with its positioning. Determine what your brand does for your consumers by positioning your brand around a consumer-facing benefit.
- Who – The person the customers become when they use your product.
- Why – Your purpose that acts as the base of the positioning.
- How – The attitude you have as a brand and how you treat your consumers (e.g exceptional customer service and people-first attitude)
With brands offering the same products and services, always find a way to contribute to your customers in different ways.
2. Prioritise Customer Experience & Their Relationship With Your Brand
There has always been different brands providing the same products and services to consumers. They will look further to see if any one stands out among the rest therefore it is important for different brands to provide different experiences. Provide customers with different and distinguishable brand experience from your competitors despite providing the same product and service.
Companies should think in terms of brand experience, rather than focusing on the perfect and ideal customer experience. Create touch points along a customer journey inspired and consistent with your brand positioning. Consider what you want your interactions with customers to look like. The variety and distinctiveness will enable customers to choose the experience that is most meaningful to them.
Remember that customers are humans and they are emotional, just like you. They do not want to feel like mass-marketed demographic numbers and can easily spot disingenuous brand tactics. In order to connect with customers, it is important to bridge the gap between business transactions and relationships.
Therefore, this calls you to provide them with personalised offers and experiences (e.g. a personal identification number) to make them feel appreciated. This will benefit you in getting the insights of your customers’ personality profiles and the ability to provide more relevant offers, experiences, and communication.
3. Break The Limit Of Growth
Being a crowd follower never produce exceptional results. It is important for brands to reject temporary one-hit-wonders and pursue long-term, inspirational growth of the brand. The only way to achieve meaningful and sustained growth is to extend your brand into new market and industries. Take a plunge, make bold steps and remember to always keep in mind your brand’s positioning.
- First – Determine where the brand’s boundaries of expansion and extension lies.
- Second – Lean on the brand to see where new opportunities might lie.
- Third – Test new opportunities with small steps to validate their usefulness.
It is most noteworthy to always evaluate and ask yourself whether the steps you are taking are consistent with the brand positioning. It will take time for your brand to be distinguishable from your competitors and this is in no means unattainable. Provide customers with what they really want: relevant, unique, on-brand differentiation.
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