As competition in the business world heats up, all companies must figure out how to set themselves apart from others in their niches. In other words, they must solve the brand differentiation code. If they don’t, they risk falling behind their competitors.
But how? That’s what we’ll try to answer for you in this article! Keep reading to learn why brand differentiation is important and four ways to help your company stand out.
The Importance of Brand Differentiation
Brand differentiation can be described as a business’s competitive advantage. It’s the thing that makes them different from all of the other companies offering similar products or services.
But why is differentiation so important?
Unless you sell a commodity (sugar, beans, paperclips, etc.), brand differentiation is essential to your company’s success because it will help your customers distinguish your organization from the competition and convince them to pay a premium for your offerings.
If your company presents its products and/or services in the same exact way as every other business in its space, customers have no incentive to choose your offerings over someone else’s — and they certainly won’t pay more for them.
By identifying the things that make your brand unique and promoting them to your target audience, you can begin to build a following of loyal fans who make repeat purchases.
How to Differentiate Your Brand
Can we agree that brand differentiation is important? Great! Now the question becomes, how do you actually differentiate your brand from the dozens, maybe hundreds, of competitors in your space? Following the four steps below will get you started on the right foot.
1. Focus on Your Brand’s Story
Your competitors can copy your marketing tactics, use similar color schemes, price match their products to yours, and try to emulate your brand in every way. But there’s one thing they can’t copy: your brand story — at least not with any level of authenticity.
Your brand’s story is the one thing that’s completely yours. Use it!
When you focus your marketing efforts on why your brand exists and the values it stands for, you’ll automatically achieve some level of brand differentiation.
As an added bonus, your customers will connect with your brand on a deeper level, too. Modern consumers want to support brands that “get” them; companies that seem to view the world the same way they do. By promoting your brand’s story and the values it holds dear, you’ll give your audience something to latch onto besides a low price tag.
2. Look For Gaps in the Marketplace
If you take the time to study your industry and the direct competitors you face, you may be able to identify untapped opportunities, AKA gaps in the marketplace.
Maybe you can offer a new product to your customers. Perhaps you can implement a standard money-back guarantee. Have you thought about ways that you can provide better service to your current customers?
Look far and wide to identify potential gaps that will help you differentiate your brand. Then exploit them before your competitors get the bright idea for themselves.
3. Create Amazing Brand Experiences
How do your customers feel when they interact with your company? One way to differentiate your brand from the competition is to give your audience one-of-a-kind experiences.
It’s important to note that we’re not talking about customer experience. Every organization can, and should, offer exceptional customer experiences, whether that means implementing lengthy return periods or offering cheaper shipping options. But these things can easily be copied by competitors and aren’t great brand differentiators.
Instead, look to create brand experiences that no other company can replicate. This can be done by considering every touchpoint in your unique customer journey, and making sure that each customer interaction is unique.
Disney is a recognized leader in this area. Everything the company creates, whether it’s a new ride at a themepark or the latest blockbuster movie, takes customers on a branded journey that resonates with its mission and values. You should try to do the same!
4. Experiment With New Ideas
It’s difficult to differentiate your brand from your competitors if all you ever do is copy their marketing strategies. That’s why you need to experiment with new ideas.
For example, you could try promoting your products and/or services to a new target market to see how they respond. Or you could invest in a proven marketing tactic you’ve never used before such as influencer marketing or user-generated content.
If you discover a new customer pain point and have the means to solve it, you might even consider creating a new product to help differentiate your brand.
There are two things to remember when experimenting with new ideas:
- Stay On Brand: We encourage you to experiment and try new things when it comes to marketing tactics and product creation. But everything you try must be on brand. A high-end fashion brand might not want to design budget-friendly shoes, for instance.
- Test Everything: Second, everything you try must be thoroughly tested. If it isn’t, you’ll never know which changes are effective and which aren’t. Always consult your metrics before, during, and after a new marketing campaign or product release.
If you’re open to on-brand experimentation and are willing to extensively test every new idea you have, you’ll likely find powerful brand differentiation opportunities.
Wrapping Up: Invest in Brand Differentiation
Effective brand differentiation will allow your company to stand out in a crowded market, build a loyal customer base, and even charge more for its respective products and services. To differentiate your brand from competitors, simply follow the four steps outlined in this article:
- Focus on Your Brand’s Story
- Look For Gaps in the Marketplace
- Create Amazing Brand Experiences
- Experiment With New Ideas
By taking these four steps, you’ll be able to effectively differentiate your brand — even if you operate in a crowded market with plenty of competition. Good luck!