Branding and brand differentiation

When it comes to branding, businesses focus on creating brand differentiation. Brand differentiation is the means by which your brand is set apart from the competition and it should be a cornerstone of your brand strategy. Now, we all know that isn’t all there is to create a memorable brand, but we never want it to be overlooked. The concept of brand differentiation cannot be overlooked. It is that important.

People remember what’s different

We’ll prove it. Here’s a totally plausible example:

Say you walk into a room, and in that room are a thousand elves and one gorilla. Your first thought will be, “Look at all these elves!” Your second (and lingering thought) will be, “Wow, and a gorilla?”

You grab your phone and call your friend. “Dude! I just walked into a room with a thousand elves in it! But there was also a gorilla. So awesome. A gorilla in a room full of elves.”

And then you and your friend excitedly talk about the gorilla. How did it get in there? Why?

That is branding.

Let’s talk about how this crazy scenario does illustrate the way good branding works.

Of course, we know that walking into a room with 1,000 elves is amazing in itself. If there was no gorilla, you’d call your friend and say, “Dude! I just walked into a room with 1,000 elves. Pretty cool! One had a green hat. One, red. One had a beard…”

But the presence of the gorilla changes your experience with the elves. Each elf in the group loses its individual identity and gets tossed into a group of indistinguishable things. There are 1,000 elves and one gorilla.

The gorilla stops the conversation about the elves before it has a chance to develop. And the gorilla garners more attention than the elves because of it.

Now that’s brand differentiation.

The Conversation

It is a marketing adage that all marketers have heard – “you have to be a part of the conversation!” And while we agree, branding is not just joining the conversation. It is about standing out in the conversation. Why would anyone choose you over another brand? Because you fit the mold? We don’t think so. Anyone can join the slush pile and learn how to do what everyone else is doing. The key is learning how to do what everyone else is doing and not doing it.

Tips For Differentiating Your Brand

To truly stand out in a competitive market, you must first take action, and the following tips are a great way to start. Discover ways to become more relevant in your audience’s lives than your competitors, and let us help you become the gorilla in the room full of elves.

Scope Out The Competition

Before conducting competitor research, ask yourself: What are your competitors not providing their customers with that you could be? This question will allow you to identify ways to achieve brand differentiation. Competitor research can look into areas such as a comparison of product or services offered, pricing, a look at their website and social media engagement, customer reviews, SEO research, and more. Use this time of research to identify the distinctive place you’d like for your product or service to hold in the minds of your target audience.

Narrow Down Your Audience.

Repeat after us, “You cannot market to everyone.” Your product or service cannot be everything to everyone. Everything starts with knowing your audience because they will represent your brand. Find what your niche is and employ strategies to engage your audiences, such as learning with social media networks and marketing outlets your customer-base frequent. Knowing your audience allows you to craft tailored content for the stages of the customer journey, helping you achieve your business objectives.

Take Care Of Your Customers.

The quality of your business’s customer experience will directly impact the overall customer experience. Companies that do not deliver excellent customer service risk falling behind their competitors. In addition to using customer satisfaction measurement methods, companies should also seek to create touch points along the customer journey that are consistent with brand positioning. When you build a customer-focused company, you stand out against businesses that ignore customer issues.

Position Your Brand.

Before launching your brand, take the time to develop consistent positioning that reflects the ideals you want your company to be known for. In doing so, you will be seen as an expert in your space with something unique to offer your customers. Once you’ve established yourself as an expert, your customers will search your website and social media networks for additional information and resources. Leveraging consistent content marketing is important to this effort.

Brands That Successfully Differentiated Themselves From Their Competitors

Warby Parker

The American online retailer of prescription glasses and sunglasses was founded in 2010 by four friends while attending business school and lamenting the cost of glasses. Their business model began to take place once they discovered that Luxottica Group owned LensCrafters and Pearle Vision, Ray-Ban and Oakley, and the licenses for Chanel and Prada prescription frames and sunglasses. They then decided to bypass retailers and middlemen, and save their customers money by providing affordable eyewear. Similar to the footwear company Tom’s, Warby Parker donates a pair of glasses per glasses purchased and works with charities like VisionSpring, which trains entrepreneurs in developing countries to perform eye exams and distributed glasses.

Airbnb

Whether you love them or hate them (we’re looking at you, landlords and hotels), you have to admit that they disrupted the lodging industry in a unique way, giving travelers around the world more affordable accommodation options. Sure vacation homes and home-swap programs already existed, but not at the global scale reached by Airbnb. Their model became so successful that hotels large and small began looking at Airbnb for inspiration, such as emphasizing experience packages, incorporating residential design, locality, and more.

Venmo

When Venmo appeared on the scene, it was not the first payment service platform on the scene. However, picking up on the success of services like PayPal, Venmo has become one of the most popular peer-to-peer applications for transferring money. The popularity of Venmo has to do in part with it not charging users for sending or receiving money, and it created a built-in audience by including a newsfeed in the app where users can share public or private messages regarding their transactions.

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