I recently had a conversation with Alejandra, a talented strategist and brand designer at Ale Now Design. Our discussion centered around the strategic process of establishing strong brand differentiators that can position your business as the preferred solution in the minds of your target clients. During our chat, we touch on the techniques entrepreneurs can use to uncover or create differentiators for their products or services. We also explored the advantages and hurdles associated with this process, along with offering guidance on assessing the strength of your differentiator. Check out the video below, where two designers share insights on the significance of this step in the brand strategy process and provide guidance on how to implement it effectively within your own business.
What is a Brand Differentiator?
A brand differentiator is a unique feature or characteristic of a product, service, or brand that sets it apart from its competitors in the minds of consumers. It gives a business a competitive advantage and helps it to stand out in the marketplace. Examples of brand differentiators include product features, client experience, personality, design, price, and brand reputation. By emphasizing their differentiators, businesses can create a strong brand identity and attract and retain customers.
Here’s what a strong brand differentiator can do for you…
A strong brand differentiator can have several benefits for your business including positioning you as the go-to expert in your field, increased brand recognition and awareness, improved customer loyalty, increased pricing power and marketing effectiveness. When you have a strong brand differentiator, it can give you the ability to charge premium prices for your products or services because customers are often willing to pay more for a product or service they perceive as superior.
Are Differentiators Crafted/Uncovered or Native to the Product/Experience?
It can be either or both but most of the clients I work with craft and uncover their differentiators through the brand strategy process. Since I work almost exclusively with service based businesses, it’s rare that our clients have existing differentiators right from the get-go (although it has happened- our client Little Lion Studio had an incredible differentiator in a saturated industry right from the start). This is often a part of your brand that takes time to establish and needs to be revisited often. It is much more common for product based businesses to have differentiators that are native to their product.
What makes a Strong Differentiator?
- Relevance to Your Audience: A strong differentiator is meaningful to your target audience. It addresses their needs, desires, and pain points, demonstrating that your brand understands and caters to them.
- Uniqueness: It should be distinct and unique within your industry or market. A strong differentiator stands out and is not easily replicated by competitors.
- Consistency: Your differentiator should align with your brand’s values, mission, and overall identity. Consistency helps build trust and credibility with your audience.
- Sustainability: A strong differentiator should be sustainable over time. It’s not a short-term gimmick but a lasting element of your brand that can evolve as needed.
- Memorability: It should be easy for your audience to remember and associate with your brand. A memorable differentiator helps in brand recall and recognition.
- Communicability: Your differentiator should be easy to explain and communicate to your audience. It should be a concise and clear message that can be integrated into your marketing and messaging.
- Value Proposition: It should convey a clear and compelling reason why customers should choose your brand over others. Your differentiator should communicate the unique benefits and advantages you offer.
- Emotional Appeal: A strong differentiator often connects with the emotions of your audience. It can evoke positive feelings, trust, or a sense of belonging.
- Proof and Evidence: Back up your differentiator with evidence or proof points. Show how your brand delivers on the promise of your differentiator through testimonials, case studies, or data.
- Adaptability: Your differentiator should be adaptable to changes in the market or shifts in customer preferences. It should remain relevant as your brand grows and evolves.
- Competitive Advantage: It should provide a competitive edge in the marketplace. A strong differentiator should contribute to your brand’s success by attracting and retaining customers.
- Longevity: While it’s essential to adapt to changing market dynamics, a strong differentiator should have a level of longevity to provide stability to your brand strategy.
- Alignment with Brand Strategy: Ensure that your differentiator aligns with your overall brand strategy and does not conflict with your brand’s core principles.
The Process of Crafting an Offer with a Strong Differentiator
When we were crafting our newest offer at Artful Brands, The Client Experience Intensive, we spent quite some time on the differentiating and positioning process. Even though other designers weren’t offering Honeybook setup, we knew the service itself already existed so we differentiated our offering in a few ways.
1. We named our service something unique. Instead of Honeybook setup, we chose The Client Experience Intensive which sounds like a high touchpoint offering. This helps us set expectations just from the name itself that this offering is a premium price.
2. We crafted the offer around a pain point our clients face: automations and creating streamlined systems/processes/and proposals
3. We messaged the offer with a strong emotional appeal
4. It was our first studio offer & structured as an intensive week with our team which meant our clients had a new and exciting way to work with both a designer and certified OBM
We are now in the process of testing this offer with our audience and improving the experience and results we deliver. This is an important part of crafting differentiators- testing the offer with your audience and being open to refining based on feedback.
Remember that developing a strong brand differentiator is a strategic process that requires a deep understanding of your target audience, competitors, and your own brand’s strengths and values. It should be a central element of your brand’s positioning and messaging, helping you create a lasting and meaningful connection with your customers.
If you enjoyed this video, leave a comment below! Tell me your thoughts and what other topics you would enjoy hearing more about in the Build a Better Brand series!
Follow Alejandra on Instagram here.
Artful Brands is a full-service brand and website design studio for creatives. We specialize in artful design for wedding pros offering bespoke branding, print, and web design. Our design process is rooted in strategy as we craft a compelling visual identity to attract your ideal client. We manage branding projects in their entirety, from initial strategy, to visual identity creation and onwards, elevating all brand touch points. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.
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I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book.