We have good and bad news for you. The bad news is your business has competition. The good news is your business has competition. Wait, what? Yeah, so in our last blog, we talked about the importance of not just having competitors, but understanding how to use them to your advantage. (check that out.) But in this article, we’re focused on ensuring that their attempts to stand out aren’t overshadowing yours. And the best way to do that is by knowing the best ways to differentiate yourself.
Here are a few ways to — and not to — go about it. Starting with what you should do.
Find Your Voice
Your brand voice is a huge part of your company’s identity, and it’s a powerful tool for differentiation. Without consistency, it’s a lot harder for your audience to understand who you really are and establish a meaningful connection with your brand. Are you more serious and refined? Or are you playful and clever?
Keep in mind tone of voice is more than just text; you can see it in visuals too. Every video, social post, or ad you put out there should convey who you are as a company because when you become recognizable, you become memorable. This piece alone can put you far above your competitors if you can nail it.
Be the Best at Something
Confidence in your branding is everything. If you don’t believe you’re the best choice, why should your customers? Start by ensuring that your branding is inclusive and consistent so that your message is seen and memorable. Next, figure out that one thing that you know you do better than anyone else. Maybe it’s your customer service. Think of the very best experience you’ve had with a company. How does yours compare? Maybe it’s your return policy or warranty. Accidents happen and people change their minds, so if you provide this reassurance to customers that others don’t, this could be your sweet spot. Whatever it is, say it loud and proud.
You don’t have to offer the lowest prices, but if you don’t, you better make sure your customers know what they’re getting for that extra buck. 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. But have to trust you. Connect with them on a more personal level through your marketing by knowing what you stand for and sharing it with your audience openly. Give them a look into your business that your competitors wouldn’t — even if it isn’t perfect. Make it real. Whether it’s a commitment to green practices or superior responsiveness, make your core values shine through in your message.
Now, what you shouldn’t do.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Your Competitors
Yes, we told you to use your competitors to your advantage, but that doesn’t mean playing the comparison game. Lexus doesn’t compare itself to Ford, just like Neiman Marcus doesn’t name-drop Kohls. That’s because they’re at two totally different spectrums of the scale. These brands don’t want to create a perception that’s anything other than being in a league of their own.
Digital platforms and social channels have made it easier than ever for customers to get to know you but nothing will devalue your brand more than putting it directly next to a competitor. Your audience is interested in you, and bringing someone else into the picture is only going to do more harm than good. Keep your marketing focused on your brand.
Don’t Always Play It Safe
Be controversial. Doing what everyone else is doing is playing it safe, which never helped anyone get ahead. Generate a little buzz and stir up some real talk by doing something a little drastic. Leaving your comfort zone can be scary but here’s a tip: focus on what your competitors aren’t doing well or aren’t doing at all, and call it out. Remember, don’t make it about them — make it about why you are the ultimate solution. Publicizing your beliefs is a way of being unexpected, authentic, and real. And when executed properly, it can create a wonderful emotional connection with your audience.
Ready to really stand out? Contact shyft to discuss your marketing goals and discover the distinct ways that your brand can differentiate itself from your competitors.