Brand differentiation is a must for any company that wants to be a success. Being unique can be a cornerstone in building both brand reputation and brand loyalty. But in an increasingly crowded market, how can you ensure that your brand stands out as offering something different from your competitors? Here are our four tips on how to differentiate your brand from your competition.
- Be informed and agile– The quickest way for a brand to become irrelevant is to be stagnant. We live in a fast-paced world where new technologies, new social trends and changing attitudes come thick and fast. Be curious and keep informed, not just about developments and trends related to your own industry, but also others that may intersect or impact it. You should constantly be considering whether your current product or service range is still relevant and whether new offerings might make your brand stand out and confer competitive advantage. It’s important to be responsive and agile to prevent being left behind the crowd.
- Put a true focus on customer relations– We all know that customer relationship management is vitally important, but the reality is that not all companies do well at putting this into practice. All sorts of business, large and small, are guilty of failing to truly put a focus on the customer first. Fail to get it right, and customers will at the very best walk away, and at worst they will walk away and have their horror story go viral on social media, damaging your brand reputation. Be proactive about maintaining a good relationship with your customers – but more importantly, be ready to respond quickly and transparently if you become aware of an unhappy customer, whether that is because they have contacted you directly, or they have complained publicly on a social media platform.
- Openness and transparency– According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, less than half of Americans trust businesses, and recent studies have shown that customers are more than willing to walk away from companies that they don’t perceive to be honest and open, in favor of more transparent brands. Stand out from the crowd by being open and transparent in communications with your customers – particularly if something goes wrong – and you will be more likely to reap the benefits of brand loyalty.
- Focus on your core strengths– Building the uniqueness of your product or service offerings should be at the heart of your business and your primary focus, and sometimes that might mean outsourcing or contracting out other aspects of your business. That might take the form engaging an external IT contractor, but equally, it could mean working with a branding consultant who can help to make your brand stand out.
The most successful businesses, of all sizes, are not the ones that try to mimic their competitors or follow a tired business model. Innovative brands that remain curious and agile – and that treat their customers with respect – are the ones that will ultimately stand out from the crowd and benefit from the enhanced brand reputation that comes along with that.