Brands all over the world are facing a common problem – a crisis of differentiation. Companies fail to come up with innovative ideas and mostly rely on copying an existing idea. The race to copy ideas quickly and the saturation of market presence has slowly made brands virtually indistinguishable from each other regardless of their industry. The main reason for such identical traits of brands is that companies do not focus to differentiate their brand from others.
Today, we will discuss why brands need to stand out from other brands and how they can do it.
Why Brands Need Differentiation
An international study on brand differentiation carried out for 10 years on various brands revealed that differentiation factor is the single most crucial contributor to a brands success.
And if you analyze, you will find that it is not a new idea that helps in differentiating the brands rather it is brand management. But to keep up with modern brand management techniques like brand relevance, net promoter score, etc., companies have paid the heavy price of losing the distinct value of their own. Dependent on a minimal level of distinction for branding, these techniques decrease the value of unique brand traits.
Even though modern brand management methods are showing a different way, brand differentiation is important as:
- It has high impact business implications and extensive marketing perspective.
- The brand distinction has a far-reaching impact on the consumers enhancing the profitability in short run and viability in long run.
- Distinctive quality allows brands to create a lasting impression on customers in the lack of which customers can make purchase decisions purely based on price. Price based purchase decision making can compel businesses to lower their profit margins to provide lower prices.
- If customers can differentiate your brand from other brands for its distinct feature and not label or logo, there is a higher chance of them turning into loyal.
Despite the plethora of advantages, achieving differentiation seems to have taken a backseat with brands. Many studies have shown that customers see several products as interchangeable commodities in the lack of distinctive brand qualities.
Brand strategy tips to create a meaningful differentiation for your brand
Although there is monotony when it comes to brands, the positive side is companies can break it and become truly different from others. Here are five brand strategy tips to help you do so:
The right Positioning
Brands can attract customers and resonate with stakeholders by establishing a unique and compelling positioning. The objective is to create a unique differentiation in the customer’s mind so that the customer perceives the brand in a specific way, distinct from rest of the marketplace.
In conventional methods, the brand was positioned by as an answer to question – what a brand does for customers. But recently, there have been many examples of brands which achieved meaningful differentiation in other ways such as Red Bull (positioned on what), Dove (Positioned on why) and Uber (positioned on how). There might be many brands competing in the industry but the brand that focuses on finding ways to become relevant in customers’ lives in different ways stands out.
How Fevicol has maintained a dominant position in glue market. By making bonding a Fevicol attribute and its advertising has used intelligent humor to convey this meaning.
Enhance Your Customer Experience
Customer experience is another most crucial aspect of branding. Just like the brand approach, the customer experience has also become homogenized over a decade. When one brand comes with an idea to enhance customer experience such as free delivery, another brand quickly adopts the idea as its own.
Even though brands can have the same positioning there cannot provide the same experience. Many companies fail to understand that there is no one optimal experience for customers. Rather than a single set of standards to define the optimal experience, companies need to focus on ideal customer experience. There should be various touch points a brand should consistently try to achieve throughout their customer’s journey. This will allow brands to map their interactions with their customers.
The new entrant in India Netflix has revolutionised the way most people watch films and TV shows. They have the understanding that personalization is the key to offering customers an experience that gets them hooked.
Nike is Offering innovative experiences with augmented reality
Customers appreciate when brands treat them as people rather than a demographic number. They show loyalty towards the brand with which they feel a personal connection. With advanced technology, making sophisticated and creative attempts to personize the experience of each customer has become easy. Social media has also opened new doors for the more personal form of communication. With personal identification number, customer behavior can be tracked and more relevant offers and experience can be provided to them.
The E commerce companies like Amazon,ibibo are building loyalties with a personal touch during and after the transactions completed.
Building Stronger Relationships
To cultivate a strong relationship with the customers, brands need to fill the gap between transaction and relationship. When a brand makes building relationship with its customers a cornerstone of their branding, they create a meaningful and lasting impact on their customer base.
Social media platforms and technology as simplified the interaction between brand and its customer making it more personal and consistent. As customers can easily spot deceitful tactics, you need to stick to touching the areas where brand presence looks genuine.
How maggi bounced back to be a leader when it was declared nearly dead in 2015.
The relationship ads made the difference. The campaign, ‘Me & Meri’, wherein consumers were invited to share their Maggi moments. ‘Meri Maggi — 2 minute mein Khushiyan’ invited people to share the impulsive moment of joy that the noodle brand has brought in their life. And now the brand has captured 60% of market share.
Grow . Explore . but remain different and be flexible with brand positioning.
Exceptional results can never be achieved by following the crowd. Thus, brands should resist the temptation to fall for generic trends and pursue transformational growth by being willing to stand out as a brand.
Whether it is tapping on to new markets & industries or taking bold steps, take the plunge but stay true to your brand positioning and yet flexible.
Car market leader Maruti Suzuki India till date has remained the most influential brand. With the changing needs, wants and desires of customers, they have been altering brand positioning and advertising after complete market research.
Brand differentiation is not a quick fix solution that will change your brand overnight. It is a long-term objective which will help you achieve sustainable growth and help you build loyal customers. And to make your brand stand out, add uniqueness but remember to keep it relevant.
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