Entrepreneurs

5 Strategies To Differentiate Your Brand And Own Your Industry

Does your brand stand out, or is it difficult to differentiate it from the rest? If your brand falls into the latter category, acquiring and retaining customers will be a challenge. Consumers are drawn to brands that distinguish themselves for the right reasons.

There are several ways to differentiate your brand and ultimately own your industry. The following are five ways that I have seen brands change their approach to gain more market share and increase their brand recognition and visibility:

1. Optimize the User Experience

User experience can make or break your business model. A poor user experience can drive customers away from even the best products. Worse still, it can drive others away, too. After all, when a consumer has a bad user experience, they’re apt to tell the world.

So when it comes to differentiation, improving the user experience should also be on top of your to-do list. It’s one of the best ways to set yourself apart from competitors, especially if they tend to play it safe.

One way companies differentiated the user experience during the Covid-19 pandemic was by introducing contactless delivery. This helped them get products to customers while decreasing touchpoints that could spread the virus. Before everyone started to copy the idea, contactless delivery was a great way for quick-thinking entrepreneurs to stay afloat and boost their sales during a difficult time. 

Now that the practice is commonplace, how can you use it to differentiate your brand from the rest? You might highlight your use of eco-friendly packaging, make a free follow-up delivery when a first-choice item is out of stock, or accompany each delivery with a handwritten thank-you note. With a little creativity, you’ll find ways to make your user experience memorable in a good way.

2. Focus on a Niche

Many top countries encompass a range of demographics. Sure, they might have certain aisles or products that address more particular needs, but they don’t focus their attention on any one niche. Take Nike, for example. They provide sportswear and athletic equipment for people of all ages and abilities but don’t focus their attention on one demographic more than another.

To differentiate your brand, take the opposite approach. By focusing on a niche, you can become the go-to supplier of goods and services to a specific demographic. By catering to their needs better than general-purpose suppliers, you can draw in a crowd in a way none of your competitors can. 

If you’re an athletic apparel and equipment retailer, don’t attempt to go head to head with Nike. Instead, you might supply hydration packs for long-distance runners or provide the longest-wearing yoga pants to suburban moms. You’ll better differentiate your brand when you stop trying to be all things to all people.

3. Challenge the Status Quo

How can you overturn the established expectations in your industry? Do so successfully, and you’ll be sure to set yourself apart from even the longest-standing brands in the field. 

In many ways, Wendy’s is just like any other fast-food chain. It offers similar menu items and a comparable customer experience. But where Wendy’s flips the script is with its commitment to using fresh, never frozen, meat. The company’s advertising campaigns shine a spotlight on a questionable aspect of the industry while showcasing its attempt to change industry practices for the better. 

Now think about how your business can put a spin on things. Maybe you’ll become the first fast-casual chain with a full gluten-free or vegan menu. Or you can be even more revolutionary by creating the first payday loan company to offer reasonable interest rates. When you challenge your industry’s status quo, you stand a good chance of disrupting it. 

4. Become an Expert

Don’t just be another business trying to find its footing in a crowded industry. Establish your brand as an expert. If you can use your experience, story and content to market yourself as the go-to source of industry knowledge, you’ll have a much easier time standing out from the crowd. 

Content in particular is how you will be able to establish yourself as an industry expert. Take advantage of blog posts and social media to share valuable insights with your customers, without always attaching a sales pitch to them. 

Let’s say you’re in the banking industry. Using your industry expertise, you can develop a blog offering financial advice that’s free for everyone to access. This information will establish your organization as a reliable one in the field and draw new customers to your doors. 

5. Give Your Marketing a Creative Spark

So much of advertising is the same. Car commercials all inhabit the same mountain vistas, and social media posts all use the same stock photos and filters. If you really want to differentiate yourself, you won’t use the copy-and-paste strategy that’s employed by so many other brands.

Consider some of the brands that have succeeded through creativity. Old Spice got a new lease on life with commercials so wacky you can’t help but quote them to your friends. Geico’s adorable green lizard has been the spokesanimal of the brand for years, and he helps differentiate the insurance company from its many competitors. 

Take some time to think about how you can add some flavor to your marketing and brand imaging. Perhaps you need an irresistible mascot to sell your products or a jingle for a radio or TV ad that will get stuck in consumers’ heads. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

You want your brand to stick out like a unique flower, not a sore thumb. When you differentiate your brand for the right reasons, you’ll see your page views soar, your sales climb, and your brand recognition reach new heights.

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