ARTICLE

Brand Differentiation Is A Game Changer.

In today's increasingly competitive marketplace, a brand's point of view must be distilled to the clearest message possible to gain the attention of its target market. Brands must stand out not only by being different but by being authentic. By individualizing yourself from the competition in a relevant way to your target customers, you can create advocates, establish credibility, and ultimately increase loyalty and market status.

When brands approach our agency, for instance, our design and strategy teams begin assessing by exploring what makes the brand potentially outstanding. When designed and marketed in a consistent and brand-aligning way, this stand-out aspect -- the differentiator -- is what will attract an audience, garner attention, and lead to conversion opportunities.

What Is A Differentiator Made Of?

  • Relevancy: One of the most basic yet critical aspects of differentiation. Is your brand offering a meaningful and valuable solution to customers? If so, are you evoking emotion and connection that will support growth?

  • Authenticity: Knowing your brand inside and out is essential to delivering an honest and trustworthy voice and perspective to connect with your audience.

  • Proof: Through research, data, and analysis, your brand or strategy team must have a thorough understanding of the competitive landscape to make a convincing case that your product, service, or perspective is superior for its intended purpose.

Brand differentiation may not appear to be clearly connected to the bottom line of a company's balance sheet. However, it's crucial to develop a brand that stands out from the crowd. When these qualities are well-represented, customers will take note. So much so that they are willing to pay up to 16% more for a product or service that leverages its differentiation to offer a better customer experience.

Designed With Purpose

When embarking on a new branding project, clients often tell us what they think their differentiator is, but they have yet to identify their true differentiation point. Brand differentiation isn't something that is found, it's something that is created. This process begins with discovering what makes a brand relevant and highlighting and focusing on the supporting aspects and emotions that will solidify those points.

In building a differentiation strategy, certain qualities should emerge as the sole options for what customers want and need. Here are five aspects that must be present to ensure your brand's differentiator shines through to the marketplace.

Create An Experience

  • Today, many consumers are looking to be brand advocates, which can only be accomplished by creating an immersive experience. Through positive interactions, interactive campaigns, and consistent branding, you can become memorable and highly relevant to consumers and the overall market. Your company can accomplish this through design, data collection, and personalization to deliver more impactful touchpoints.

Stay Fresh 

  • Advanced technology, features, or a very different look and feel can be powerful differentiators. Newness — whether a new brand entirely or a single product launch within a more prominent brand — can do wonders for keeping customers curious and generating buzz. Identify something that may not have been done before, and customers will notice.

Offer A Solution

  • Many consumers purchase a product or service because they have a problem they're looking to solve. To be truly successful, you must identify a problem consumers have that is simple but tough to solve on their own, inspiring and empowering the market. Then, enter your expertise and skills. Problem-solving also works to nurture trust and loyalty with consumers, creating a better chance for long-term advocacy.

Be A Know-It-All

  • Credibility is essential when a brand is fighting to become a leader in the market. Focusing on expertise, knowledge, and customer experience can draw consumers to your brand and position your company as the best-in-class option. Testimonials, explainer videos, high-quality content, and informational packaging are ideal delivery methods to express this leadership perspective. After all, knowledge is power.

Show Your Status

  • Becoming an iconic brand takes time and consistency, but that doesn't mean your company can't start acting like one out of the gate. Consistency, perseverance, and connection with your target market's culture are essential to becoming the "go-to," undisputed brand for the job.

A Top-Down Approach

It's important to note that the whole organization should implement differentiation. A recent article from Harvard Business Review mentions, "The most effective companies don't rely on distinctive products, services or brand for differentiation; instead, they focus on creating an enterprise so distinctive that it can create many products, services and brands, each more compelling than the next."

It can be argued that the only way a brand can truly become successful is through an intelligent differentiation strategy, and depending on your company's capabilities, offerings, and competitive landscape, there are many pathways to differentiation. Going far beyond visuals, a common quality that successful differentiation strategies share is a deep understanding of what the customer needs -- and that's what makes them go the distance.

Let’s Talk

S-Squared Creative has deep experience in helping companies establish and refresh their brands. Contact us, and let's talk about how we can create a team that takes you to a new level and accomplishes your goals.

Email: Steve Utley, Head of Creative and Strategies

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