The most important aspect of any brand strategy is brand differentiation.
How do you stand out when there are many businesses that offer the same products and services that you do?
Use these brand differentiation examples and rules to guide your process.
Here are the 12-rules of brand differentiation to remember when creating a brand differentiation strategy
Rule #1: Focus to amplify
You’ll never differentiate your brand if you are trying to do everything. Instead, you amplify your reach by narrowing down your focus.
Rule #2: Give to receive
The best way to build a powerful brand is to differentiate yourself by showcasing what’s unique about your business. The more you showcase your expertise, the more you differentiate. Don’t worry about sharing too much for free.
Rule #3: It all starts with your brand message
Your brand message should easily and quickly communicate what’s different about your business.
Brand differentiation example for improving your brand message
The main point to note here is the fact that when it comes to your brand message, you need to go back to point #1 of focusing. If you can decide on one key area or feature to lead with, it makes it easier to differentiate your product and associate your brand with a particular functionality.
Rule #4: Build meaningful connections with your customers
The more connected you are to your customers, the more they trust you, and the more loyal they are to you. To connect focus on using relatable marketing strategies that are based on your customer’s challenges.
Brand Differentiation Example for building meaningful connections
Create marketing campaigns that encourage customers to share and use what they share as a form of marketing. An example of a brand that does this successfully is Duolingo. They have their fans draw different images based on the characters used on the Duolingo application. Retail brands also use customer images in place of paid promotional photos.
Rule #5: Don’t copy competitors instead, learn and identify gaps
Learn from your competition, but don’t copy your competition. Use your research to identify gaps in the marketplace and use that to set yourself apart.
Questions to answer with your competitor research:
- Are there any industry reviews about your competitor’s solution that mentions things that customers wished your competitor did?
- Are they targeting a specific market and ignoring another potential need?
Further reading: How to Figure Out the Type of Marketing Challenge You Have
Rule #6: If no one has done it before, don’t be afraid to be the first
Don’t worry about how things are always done. If you want to stand out, you can’t do so by following the status quo. Try something new!
Rule #7: Stick to the course but pivot when needed
You’ll have to try out a new marketing strategy for some time before you can determine if it’s working or not. However, quickly change things if your data says so (usually, you’ll need about one to three-month data).
Rule #8: Be transparent about what makes you different
If you have a unique process, share the process (in a way that gives enough information but doesn’t give away your secret sauce).
Rule #9: Your employees are part of your secret sauce
This is especially true for service businesses; showcase your employees as much as possible to help your audience build a connection.
Rule #10: Your brand differentiator has to be experienced
Always ensure that what you decide to use as your key brand differentiator is also part of your product or services. Customers must experience what’s different about your business. It’s not enough to say that you are different.
Rule #11: When in doubt, ask your customers
If you are unsure what’s truly different about your business, simply ask your customers by conducting a brand perception survey.
Rule #12: Listen and empathize before selling
The more you connect, the more you differentiate, and the more you create loyalty. Before you sell, make customers feel like you have listened to understand their pain.
Bonus Rule: Combine human and data intelligence
Data tells only half of the story. Humans are complex.
Use data to help with decisions while also paying attention to on-the-ground information.
What are your rules for differentiating your brand?
Share in the comments below!
12 Rules of Brand Differentiation Infographic