In crowded markets, being different, not better, is the key to standing out from the herd.
If you’re constantly looking at what peers are doing, trying to beat them at their game, you’ll end up being just like everyone else. If you do what everyone else is doing and follow the crowd, you will only reach as far as the others.
Your only point of differentiation will almost certainly end up being the lowest price, devaluing your product and hurting your bottom line.
The key is to be different. Not for the sake of being different (frankly, that would be bonkers), but being different in areas that people value (and are willing to pay for).
Sustainable competitive advantage occurs only if you differentiate. Provide your customers with a clear point of distinction and differentiation to help them understand and remember why they should choose you.
Here are a few pivotal things to keep in mind.
Make your customer the hero
Your business isn’t about you. It’s about your customers. Most businesses don’t realize this and make the mistake of tooting their own horns. It distances your target audience from your brand because people don’t connect with what you are selling.
The best way to keep your customer at the center of your brand is by identifying what they want, why your product or service will appeal to them, and how they will benefit. When everyone else is singing their own praises, differentiate your brand by making your customer the hero. Make your business about knowing the people you sell to and the products and services they need.
Every business owner knows the importance of customers. Your customers can make or break your brand. Without a steady, loyal customer base, the whole purpose of running a business is defeated. But your brand doesn’t begin and end at selling a product or service. You must sell promises and keep them. How is your product or service making a difference to your customers’ lives?
Your customers are always looking for ways to increase their quality of life. They want to feel less stress and be happier. They want to be less tired and more productive. The purpose of your brand is to help them accomplish this.
Instead of focusing on features, make your brand shine by clearly delivering value during all stages of the customer lifecycle.
Find out gaps in the market
No brand can offer 100 percent customer satisfaction! No matter how high end the product or service, there are always gaps that aren’t yet filled. Your job is to identify customer pain points so you can effectively bridge the gaps that exist in your market.
There are several ways to identify customer pain points. You could monitor social media communication to see what your customers are saying about your brand; you could have one-on-one customer interviews; you could conduct market research by creating customer focus groups.
Knowing your customer’s pain points and the gaps in the industry causing the pain will help you come up with key strategies to differentiate your brand.
Playing it safe isn’t business. It’s boring and will never help your brand stand out from the rest. If you’re trying to draw attention in a crowded market, you have to take some calculated risks.
Of course, this does not mean being careless and taking impulsive decisions or actions that can spell doom for your brand. When we talk of risks, we mean stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something you’ve never done. Having a smart strategy and going for your goals is the way to keep the motivation high.
Keeping your competitors guessing is the smartest move to differentiate your brand. Predictability gives your competitors an edge over you because they know you will function the way you always do. When you are predictable, you are boring and easily overtaken. Being unpredictable means your competitors can never counter your moves that well since they do not know what your next move will be.
Most major corporations and brands are creative and unpredictable. They surprise with every new marketing campaign and take the world by storm with every new product. Competitors find it hard to keep up with them. Their products may not be better than the others, but the element of surprise draws attention and makes them a success.
Today, it’s getting harder to stand out as different and unique by offering great prices and quality alone. Instead, offer something unique. Creating your unique position in the market is the way to be a brand that’s a class apart from the rest. The world is a tough place, and offering the same things as your competitor isn’t the best position to be in. The key is to be different, not better.