Wednesday, 26 December 2018 16:36

5 Tips for Effective Brand Differentiation

What sets a business apart from its competitors? Depending on your company, the differentiation factor often comes down to price. But a brand can gain distinction in a number of different ways, including:

  • Quality customer service DSC08924
  • Easy to access assistance
  • Quick product delivery
  • Value-added processes

Here at Baillie Lumber, one of our differentiating factors is the high priority we place on customer outcomes which is in line with our company mission "To Help Others Succeed".

As we’ve noted previously, “All the dazzling bells and whistles you build around your products won’t count for much if the customer is unclear about the outcome from using them.” Generally speaking, customer loyalty is driven by the perception that purchasing your products will result in outcomes relating to higher efficiency, future sales of their own products or service, and a greater perceived value of their products to customers. 

Here are five tips on brand differentiation that can boost your standing among the competition:

  1. Know your customers inside and out. How can a business be distinctive without understanding all there is to know about the customers they serve? Of course, different customers value different things, so creating a customer segmentation strategy might be your most effective approach. With such a strategy, “the price-focused customers can be separated from those who place a higher value on quality and excellent services,” and a business can focus on aspects “which hopefully [they] can do better than the competition.”
  1. Don’t rely on product differentiation alone. There may be key ways in which the product you offer is distinct from the competition. But whether those distinctions are, remember that “product differentiation is short-lived.” By all means, do what is necessary to differentiate by the products you offer, but don’t depend on this alone to set your business apart. 
  1. Explore differentiation through relationship-building. Some customers might be more “relationship-focused.” They depend on having good relationships with suppliers and other providers. But when a business lets the relationship lapse, customers start looking elsewhere. After a sale, don’t rest on your laurels. Reach out proactively to your new customers—and, of course, to existing customers—to see how their business is doing and if there’s any help you can offer to better meet their needs and expectations. These efforts at relationship-building can emerge as a key differentiating strategy.
  1. Pay close attention to your business image. For some customers, brand image is all-important. They respond to the quality of your communications and marketing approach, especially if your message resonates with their needs and goals. Your business image also gets communicated through social media. The quality of content you offer to followers, the speed with which you respond to inquiries or customer complaints, and the overall “tone” of your posts and tweets say a lot about who you are. Remember that prospective customers often research a supplier’s online status and activities before reaching out for more information.
  1. Focus on the WIIFM factor. Some businesses mistakenly overemphasize product specialties in order to set their business apart. The best way to avoid this error? Always put yourself in your customer’s shoes and answer the inevitable question, “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) Stressing the benefits of using your product—and, as noted, the favorable outcomes that follow—can help set you apart from the others.

In the hardwood lumber industry which is crowded by suppliers, it’s important to be vigilant and look at ways in which you can set your business apart.  Ash, Cherry or Walnut from one supplier can sometimes be similar to Ash, Cherry, or Walnut from another. With this in mind, it is important for us to invest the time and effort necessary to differentiate why our customer base should consider doing business with us. Maybe you find the same is true for you.

Your brand represents what you stand for and how customers perceive you. Depending on your strategic approach, it can help clearly differentiate you from the other businesses.

How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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