Brand strategy: how to find your differential value

  • If you want to stand out in a competitive environment, you need a brand strategy. Do you know how to find your differential value? Well, let's help you out.

  • It is clear that the last thing you want to be is one more among the multitude. You need to find what makes you stand out, that unique competitive advantage over others. If you lack or you are not able to communicate it to your clients, you will get lost in the crowd. 

    With this post we want to tell you how you can find and exploit what is a true virtue for the market: your differential value
  • First: own analysis

  • There are certain techniques that will help you perform a competitive analysis of both competition and your brand. You just need to take a little perspective and be objective when it comes to reflecting data. 

    My recommendation is always to start from a SWOT matrix. You do not need any complicated software for this, in fact, just a pen and paper. 

    Basically, it consists of creating a matrix with 4 segments: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In each of them, list those characteristics that make up your identity as a brand, but - and this is very important - always do it from the perspective of what affects the client and not from a business perspective. 
  • TIP PRO: For the customer, it is not an advantage that you have commercial agreements with a leading market provider. For the customer, that has to produce a tangible advantage, such as exclusivity or price. 
  • As it may be difficult to be able to abstract from the conception that we have in mind of ourselves as a brand and company, it can help you to resort to certain qualitative techniques.  

    Numbers are there and, although they can be twisted, they are quite sincere. But when we enter to value other aspects that involve people, it becomes necessary to think like them. 

    What techniques can be used? 

    There are many options, such as user tests, focus groups in which a sample of our potential audience interacts with our product or service, surveys or, probably one of the best alternatives to propose a SWOT: buyer people, who are archetypes you can design an interlocutor with your motivations, brakes and needs in order to confront your brand and business model. 
  • EXAMPLE: Imagine that, once your matrix is made, you conclude that your strength is that you have an exclusive product for your market, but that you only guarantee that exclusivity for one year (threat). The weakness is that you do not have too much budget for acquiring, but it is a product that customers buy outside your market because it is very attractive (opportunity). 
  • Shaping the differential value

  • It is great to be clear about that competitive advantage. Now, you can focus on optimizing your internal processes to get the most out of it. But that is only part of what lies ahead. We are talking about branding and brand awareness, so we have to be able to give shape and consistency to our speech. 
  • Here we enter into, what we call, a unique selling proposition (also known as USP). 

    What is this? It is about synthesizing in a concept what we have extracted from our own analysis and from the competition. It has to be a good copywriting job that combines: 
      • Relevance: explaining what problems or needs it solves to our clients. 
      • Specificity: you have to be able to talk about concrete benefits, even quantifiable. 
      • Differentiation: why should people buy your product and not that of the competition? 
  • And all this in a language that is understandable and persuasive for your client, that is, using natural codes. If you suggest a proposal of unique value that gets lost in technical jargon or that is supported by a tone that is not suitable for that target audience, you will be failing resoundingly. 

    We have said that it is about creating a concept, but that does not mean exclusively creating a tagline or a slogan. There is much more. We have to spread the message to different elements such as a good headline, subtitle, supporting texts, outstanding bullet points and, of course, a good choice of the images and videos that go with it. It has to be transversal, to convey the idea supported by all these resources. 

    When building an USP that summarizes the differential value of your brand, there are some resources that never fail, such as appealing to savings (lowest market price, free shipping, fast shipping, good return policy ...). Find what makes you stand out and boost it to the fullest. 
  • EXAMPLE: To conclude this post, nothing better than a couple of examples of proposals that express very well the differential value of their respective brands

    Simple cases like the one of the famous M & M's sweets, which promise that “they melt in your mouth and not in your hand” and that is brilliant because of how well it summarizes one of its key values. 

    Another example is that of Zappos, which has made its customer and after-sales services its biggest commercial argument.  In this case, we find this throughout its eCommerce and in its communication in general terms.
  • Now, stop and think: what is your differential value? Are you being able to stress its importance?

  • Images | Unsplash.

Miguel Nicolás

Miguel Nicolás O'Shea is a life-long copywriter (more than 15 years working in agencies) and a specialist in Search Marketing (SEO and PPC). From now on, he will contribute with his online marketing experience to Oleoshop, publishing regularly.

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