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Driving Brand Differentiation

You know the feeling. You're scrolling through your feed and you see yet another ad for some product you're not interested in. Or, even worse, you see an ad for a specific product so similar to what you're already using that it doesn't even warrant a second glance.

In a world where consumers are bombarded with marketing messages from every direction, it can be difficult to make your brand distinguished from the rest. So, how do you ensure that your brand gets the attention it deserves?

In this article, we’re going to discuss some clever ways to help you develop a unique brand identity and position yourself to resonate with your target customers. With a differentiated brand, you can stand out from the noise of the marketplace. Let’s start!

1. Identify a market gap

When it comes to finding a gap in the marketplace, you first need to understand what makes your brand unique. What do you offer that none of the other brands do? Once you know what sets you apart from other companies, you can start looking for gaps where your brand could fill a need.

One great way to find these gaps is to look at industry trends. What are consumers talking about? What needs do they have that aren't being met? Go inside your consumers' minds by looking at data from a high-level perspective, and from a personal level of interaction.

Another way to find gaps is to look at your competitors. What are other corporate brands doing well and where could you improve upon? What value do they provide? Or what are they not doing at all? What's missing with their brands?

Once you've identified a gap, it's important to act on it quickly and creatively. The sooner you can fill the hole in the market, the better for your brand.

2. Offer fresh narratives

One way to cut through the noise is to tell new stories that resonate with your customer base.

According to the Harvard Business Review, 64% of customers who report having a trusted relationship with companies attribute it to shared values. These values are directly communicated through the stories you tell. This is what successful branding entails.

When you're selling, always remember this. You're not delivering a product. You're not delivering a service. You're delivering a benefit. We don’t buy products or services for what they are. We buy them for what they do for us. Let me give you an example.

Here's a popular quote from the American businessman, Peter Nivio Zarlenga: "In our factory, we make lipstick. In our advertising, we sell hope."

By crafting compelling brand narratives that highlight your company's unique selling points and your brand promise, you are creating an emotional connection with your customers. You can make them into loyal advocates for your company. So if you’re looking for a way to make your brand more memorable, start telling better stories.

3. Know your customers

If you’ve ever tried to break away from your competition, you know it’s not easy. There’s always someone who’s trying to do the same brand strategy as you, and usually, their company is doing it better. So how can you create a brand that stands out in a market of similar products or services? It starts with understanding your target audience. You need to build a brand that resonates with them.

One of the most famous quotes in marketing comes from Harvard Business School Professor Theodore Levitt: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”

Seek to understand your customers. Who are they? What do they really want? What do they need? What product lines are they searching for? What services do they google? What benefits attract them? Get a feel through social media accounts, surveys, and research. Gather data and analyze them against your company's current goals. Do they align?

As we say here at Craft: truly know your customers. When you do, you’ll find that your perception of your business is often very different from your customers' concept of your brand. You might think your company is XYZ, and they think your brand is ABC - a major disconnect and a barrier to successful marketing.

But be careful. In your quest for brand recognition, it’s important to find the right balance between being a distinct brand and being familiar. If you’re too different, you run the risk of alienating your existing customers. But if you’re too similar, you risk being lost in the marketing noise. By finding the sweet spot in between, you can create a brand that will stand out and make a lasting impression.

4. Be willing to pivot

The term “pivot” has been getting a lot of attention in recent years, especially in entrepreneurial circles. There’s a common misconception that a pivot means you completely abandon your core business activity and birth a new idea, spin off in a new brand direction or create a completely new product or service. But this is not always the case. Sometimes, a pivot is nothing more than a very subtle decision to specialize in a niche.

For example, let’s say you have a generalist consulting business. You may decide to pivot by narrowing your focus to just one sector. This can be a very successful brand strategy because it allows you to start building expertise in that particular area. As a result, your brand is able to provide more value and benefits to your consumer base and charge higher fees.

So, when you hear a person talking about pivoting their business brand, don’t assume they’re talking about completely changing everything they’re doing. It could just be a small shift that ends up making a big impact.

5. Take action

In a post-Covid business setting, standing out in a competitive industry will be more important than ever. With thousands of new businesses launching as I write, it's crucial that you adjust your brand strategy and take action now. Ensure that your company is edging out its competitors and stands out from the crowd. The tips mentioned in this article are a great place to start. But if you really want to forge your own path, you must go beyond these tips. So what are you waiting for? Be bold and take action!

Looking for more guidance to differentiate your brand? Reach out today to chat with our research-focused marketing and branding team. We build better brands.

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