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Brand Strategy

Brand Strategies For Relevant Differentiation

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Brand Strategies For Relevant Differentiation

If properly designed, brands will promise relevant differentiated benefits to their target customers.

Carefully choosing the most powerful benefits will not only result in brand preference, but brand insistence. That is, the brand will be perceived to be the only viable solution for the customer’s need. Put another way, the customer will not pursue substitutes if the brand is not available. The brand establishes a consideration set of one.

To achieve this the brand must possess meaningful benefits.  The optimal benefits for a brand to claim are those that are:

(1) very important to the target customer
(2) supported by organizational strengths
(3) not being addressed by the competition

Ideally, the brand tries to ‘own’ only one or two key benefits, as that is all a customer will remember. The benefits should be understandable, believable, unique and compelling.

In The Blake Project’s Brand Positioning Workshops we state the brand’s promise as follows:

Only [brand] delivers [unique differentiating benefit] to [target customer] in [an era of]

In our work with more than 250 brands, we have uncovered the most common sources of brand differentiation [unique differentiating benefits]:

  • The brand stands for something important to the customer: Its values align with the customer’s values, It reinforces the customer’s self image or how the customer aspires to be perceived, It can serve as a ‘badge’ or other form of self-expression
  • It possesses admirable qualities
  • It provides unique or superior customer service
  • It delivers a unique product purchase or usage experience
  • It is entertaining
  • It delivers superior performance
  • It is venerated, has heritage (continuity, trustworthy leader, since …)
  • It is the technology leader
  • It has noble aims/values
  • It tells an engaging story about itself
  • Its founder has unique, admirable qualities
  • It was first — a pioneer — in its market
  • It is the most popular brand with the most customers or the largest market share
  • It is the category innovator
  • It is perceived to possess positive momentum
  • It is the most convenient or easy to find and use
  • It focuses on a particular customer segment and has become an expert in meeting that segment’s needs
  • It comes from a country or region that is known for its excellence in the brand’s product category
  • It stimulates the senses through scent, sound etc.
  • It is the leading expert/specialist in a particular area
  • It is the choice of experts
  • It delivers the best overall value for the price
  • Its products are crafted with great care by hand
  • Its products are completely natural/organic with no artificial additives
  • Its products have a unique, unrivaled styling/packaging
  • It is quintessential – it defines its category
  • It is driven by a purpose important to the customer
  • It is more visible and often with more touchpoints than its competition
  • It is the conversation leader in the category
  • It has created more ways for its customers to participate with the brand (rituals, co-creation, community etc.)
  • It is the leader in customer experience
  • It has built the strongest emotional connection
  • It has capabilities or core strengths competitors do not

The brand promise should be reinforced with proof points to substantiate its claims, that is, to make them believable. The following are the most common types of proof points or ‘reasons to believe’:

  • Expert endorsements
  • Top reviews/ratings by independent authorities
  • Top reviews/ratings by consumers
  • Industry analyst reports
  • Third party certifications
  • ‘Blue chip’ customer list
  • What 9 out of 10 experts prefer/use
  • Customer testimonials
  • Leadership in any of the following: Number of customers, Number of locations, Number of transactions, Overall sales, Market share
  • Side by side tests with competitive brands
  • Looks/feels/performs different(ly)
  • Before and after comparisons
  • Year of founding (since…)
  • Patented technology
  • Secret ingredients and formulas
  • Superior ingredients
  • Ingredient brands
  • Unique process
  • Extensive publicity
  • Unconditional, money-back guarantee

Successful brands are meaningfully different and they find themselves perpetually asking:

1. What makes our offering understandable, believable, unique and compelling?
2. How does that point of difference make a difference to those who matter most to our future?
3. What evidence do we have to support our claims? Is that evidence enough to satisfy the most discerning customer?

The Blake Project Can Help Differentiate Your Brand: Simply email us, for more about how we can help you define the unique value your brand can own in the marketplace.

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: a strategic brand consultancy helping brands create and communicate value through Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

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