Which One of These is Not Like the Other?
You have a great idea for a company with a unique product or service that you know will attract customers and be hugely successful. You start out on a high note with a lot of interest and decent sales, so you’re off to a great start. Over time, as you watch your competition in action, you notice they’re getting some of the customers you think you should be getting. So, you take note of the things they’re doing: promotions, advertising, pricing, among others, and you start doing some of the same things. And it works; you get more customers, right?
Well, not exactly. But why? If your competitors are doing something, and it’s working, then why shouldn’t you be doing the same thing?
Remember the game we played when we were children where we had to look at some pictures and decide, “which of these is not like the other?” It’s the same principle at work here for your business and brand. Our brains are trained from an early age to filter out and ignore things that don’t stand out and notice things that are different. And over the years we, as consumers, are bombarded with a massive number of marketing messages through an increasing variety of mediums to the point that we have learned to only notice what is different. So, if you’re copying your competitors with similar products, services, prices or anything else, you’ve lost your point of differentiation, and your customers won’t even notice you.
So, what can you do to ensure that your brand gets noticed by your customers? First, be sure you know who your customers are. A defined and specific target market is the first step to successful sales. Remember, if you try to target everybody, you’ll end up reaching nobody, because your message will get so watered down by trying to say all things to all customers that your differentiation will disappear.
Second, determine what it is that makes your brand different from your competitors’. Remember that your point of differentiation should be something that matters to your customers. If your customers don’t care about the difference, then it won’t be enough to make them choose you over the competition. One way to determine how your brand can stand out is to look at what your competitors are doing or offering and do or offer what they are not.
Finally, make sure that your brand’s point of differentiation is clearly communicated. For example, instead of lowering your prices to match your competitors’ prices, keep your prices higher, but communicate on your website the added value that your customers get by doing business with you. Customers will pay more, as long as they understand that the added cost buys something meaningful.
So, when you ask yourself, or your customer, which of these is not like the other, the answer should be your brand.
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