BRANDIQ | 7 Ways to Create Brand Differentiation

Ever been hit by confusion in a store over the sheer amount of choices before you? Confusion sets in because you have no clear preference or can’t distinguish between available products. This daily task of choice can be a burden for the consumer. So, as you develop your business, a key question to ask is “what will distinguish my product or service from those of competitors? What will make it different?”

 

Brand differentiation is an organic factor in branding. Besides the quality of your products, it provides another layer of value. There are 7 ways to create brand differentiation; what we call the Brand Septagon.

 

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The Brand Septagon

Uncommoditise your product or service

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Product commoditisation occurs when your profit margins are so thin, you must sell volumes to break even. Competing products abound and the customer has no particular reason to buy your products. An example of a company that successfully uncomoditised a popular product is Starbucks.

Starbucks, the largest coffeehouse in the world and leading retailer of specialty coffee revolutionised the product by creating the distinctive Starbucks experience. Some people go there to be alone with their thoughts or be together with their friends or listen to incredible music. Starbucks is more than just a coffee place.

Create corporate distinction

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To create corporate distinction, ensure your organisation is known for a particular area of speciality. An example is Google’s global dominance in Internet search. The organisation distinguished itself through search quality and innovation. A remarkable feat is the adaption of the word ‘Google’ as a verb which has earned a place in the dictionary. Google continues to set the pace with new inventions like Google Glass.

Celebrate your customers

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A secret to attracting and retaining customers is to make them feel special, different and appreciated. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (MOHG) connects its advertising campaign to international celebrities who regularly stay at the hotel and consider themselves fans. Fans include Kevin Spacey, Christian Louboutin and Jane Seymour. Mandarin Oriental donates $10,000 to any charity the fan chooses.

Retain your customers

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You must ensure that customers don’t leave unexpectedly. Make exit difficult by tying them in through loyalty schemes or points. For example, in an attempt to penetrate the American market, Virgin America offered a free round-trip ticket to any location in America after four paid round-trips.

 Make it easy for customers to compare the advantage of one product over another

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Share your price advantage or new product features on your website. For example, the world’s largest retailer, Amazon sells electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and other consumer products.  It makes price comparison between vendors easy.

 Make it hard for new competitors to access your market

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Raise the competition bar through promotion of excellent standards, innovation or value added items. This makes it difficult for competitors to penetrate your market or steal market share. An example is Microsoft Office. Microsoft offers a full bundle of useful products to customers at an unbeatable price. Consumers love the offer and competitors find it difficult to match the breadth of offerings provided in the single package.

 Stoke desire

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Change the status of everyday utility products into objects of desire. Nike, one of the world’s largest suppliers of athletic shoes and apparel elevates sport shoes into must-have items through partnerships with some of the biggest names in professional sports.

Conclusion

Putting the knowledge of the Brand Septagon into practice will help to differentiate your business. Take the time to score your business or product on the 7 parameters.

 

BrandIQ is a series by Alder Consulting on why you should brand yourself or company.

Copyright Alder Consulting 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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Alder Strategy | Revisualise your Brand

Putting your business on the road map to success requires effort and consistency. Even after defining the corporate essence and raison d’etre of your business, attention should be given to other strategic aspects that will ensure long term focus. An important aspect of a business owner’s branding strategy is the business vision. There are 3 methods you can employ to define your brand vision. One is the Possibility Exploration Approach. It employs the use of your imagination, and helps situate your business in the future. For example, American IT Corporation, HP’s business vision statement is “To view change in the market as an opportunity to grow; to use our profits and our ability to develop and produce innovative products, services and solutions that satisfy emerging customer needs”. hp logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another method for crafting your vision statement is Comparative Revisualisation. You think of a successful company in your genre, and tell yourself, “I can be like them…” You parallel your dream to their size, scope, depth, reach and character or flavour. Just like Stanford University whose vision statement is “Become the Harvard of the West”.

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Another approach to envisioning is the Introspective Approach.  This method requires a great deal of visual introspection and meditation. When married together with biographical and aspirational fragments, it yields a high level of potency. You can read up stories on great brands like Apple, Google, Toyota, and Ferrari.

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As you read these stories, idea words and phrases jump at you to stimulate your thinking. As you keep on thinking, a visual character will emerge. As you keep on meditating and exploring the dimensions, the future is made clear, teased as it were from infinity. You then need to put your thoughts down in writing.

As you read about the businesses that interest you, also study the men and women behind these companies. The more biographical the stories are, the more beneficial they are to you in envisioning your corporate future. Ultimately, your business vision is a story being told into the future, starting from now. It is progression and not just a statement.

Here are some lessons to note:

Avoid unrealistic vision projections. Reappraise your vision to suit your changing environment.

Once you’ve achieved a vision, you should review it and set another.

You need to reach into yourself to pull out the vision.

 

Alder Strategy is a blog on brand strategy for businesses and brand practitioners

Copyright Alder Consulting 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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