What makes your brand stand out? Differentiation in business means finding a way to rise above a competitive market with memorable products and branding. There are dozens of techniques you can use to grab a customer’s attention, from eye-catching packaging to a relatable founding story. Here are eight brand differentiation strategies to try.
1. Tell a story
One of the clearest strategies used by brands great and small is developing a unique story. When defining your core values with a mission statement or brand proposition, you can include the personality behind your company. Who are the founders? What journey did they take to get here? Where does the brand plan to go in the future? Consumers love an underdog story, so if your business had humble beginnings be sure to highlight those. Some of today’s biggest brands started out small, whether it’s Amazon’s Jeff Bezos in his garage or Sir Richard Branson pitting his Virgin start-up against industry leaders.
2. Use product differentiation
Show clients how proud you are of your products by highlighting these in your brand proposition. Product differentiation examples could include an emphasis on where the product is made, like Italian fashion brands. It could also focus on flawless design, like luxury automakers. The best way to get started with product differentiation is to think about what your product’s USP is and highlight this to consumers.
3. Create exclusivity
Another aspect to the product differentiation examples above is an air of exclusivity. When you highlight attributes like quality and craftsmanship, this evokes a sense of luxury and value. Take it a step further with limited editions of your best product designs. By offering a select group of products at higher price points and teaming this with an effective marketing strategy, you’ll create consumer demand.
4. Highlight innovation
Differentiation in business often focuses on innovation. A prime example is the Apple iPhone, which is consistently updated with new versions featuring the latest technology. Another example of innovation as brand differentiation would be when Starbucks introduced its first coffee shop in Seattle. This new concept brought Italian coffee into the American mainstream.
5. Improve customer service
In addition to using products as a point of differentiation, consider your brand’s customer service. This is particularly useful for service-oriented businesses that might not sell physical products. When product differentiation isn’t an option, you can boost brand awareness with friendly agents, rewards for loyalty, and personal messaging.
6. Use a smart pricing strategy
There are many different pricing strategies to follow. The best will depend on the type of products or services you sell as well as your production costs and expected profit margins. Yet pricing can also be used as a tool for differentiation in business. You can either go low, making your brand stand out with notable bargains, like Aldi. The other option is to deliberately use a higher price point to associate your brand with higher quality products, like Waitrose.
7. Create a brand mascot
Sports teams already do it, and this technique can be just as powerful for brands. Examples of successful brand mascots include Sergei the Meerkat for comparethemarket.com, the Jolly Green Giant for Green Giant vegetables, or the Laughing Cow for Bel Brands. When a consumer sees that mascot, they’ll immediately think of your brand.
8. Connect to a special event
A final way to fire up your brand is to link it to a specific event or special occasion. For example, Cadbury’s has positioned itself as being synonymous with Easter due to its ubiquitous crème eggs at that time of year. Similarly, jewellery companies associate themselves with anniversaries and Valentine’s Day by creating the idea that diamonds equal romance.
Whether it’s through emphasizing the quality of your products or forging an emotional connection with your audience, these are just a few ways to grab attention and differentiate your brand. The key is to create unique selling points that make you stand out from competition in a positive way, with a vision that buyers can relate to.
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