Arguably the top priority in Brand Development is DIFFERENTIATION. Today, simply being better than other brands no longer creates a sustainable advantage. YOUR BRAND must be different.
As you ramp-up your brand it is critical to identify and develop your KEY brand differentiators.
How To Ramp-up Your Brand
A Brand differentiator is a unique feature, aspect, and/or benefit of your product or service that sets it apart from competing brands - this is how you form the basis of your competitive advantage.
Our brains are hard-wired to notice differences. See the image to the right, your focus goes directly to the burnt match. Your Brand must do the same thing. The need to differentiate in vital. People have more choices than ever before with less attention span. That combination makes Brand differentiation more difficult and MORE IMPORTANT.
Sometimes your Brand's key differentiator is obvious and definitive. In other cases, you may have many possible differentiators and you need to prioritize them. If possible, identify three key differentiators and designing the main one among the three.
1. Make a list of all the things that do or could differentiate your Brand. Consider:
- target market - specific customer segments your brand appeals to
- attributes - descriptive qualities or characteristics of your product or brand
- ingredients/specifications - the unique elements that comprise your product
- methods - the proprietary method by which your product is made or your service is delivered
- claims - definitive statements that can be made about your brand
- brand heritage/story - the narrative of why and how your brand came to be
- technologies - specific technologies distinct to your product/service
- performance - the unique way your product works or result it produces
- endorsements - statements of approval or support from people, groups, organizations
- awards - recognition for your brand
- company - your firm's unique programs,, people, design, etc.
- brand personality - the way your brand expresses itself
2. Rate Each Differentiator
- Importance To Target Customers - your differentiation must make a difference to the target market
- Difference From Competitors - the greater the difference, the stronger the differentiator
- Ease Of Achieving & Sustaining - how easy it is for you to establish & maintain the difference
- Relevance To Brand Essence/Purpose - the strongest differentiators support the Brand's essence
3. Use The Ratings To Prioritize The Top 3-5 Differentiators and Identify The Lead One
- Ensure Each Differentiator is Clear & Specific - understandable in language used by your target customers and be as descriptive & definitive as possible.
- Consider using A/B testing among your target customers to help you understand the relative importance of your differentiators.
Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC