March 10, 2020
Differentiating Factor, or just plain and simple- differentiation. What is it? It looks like a big concept, but let’s put it into simpler terms. There are some products that are quite literally the same- peanut butter, flour, laundry detergent, etc. They all do the same thing or taste the same (to some extent- and we’re talking about peanut butter here, not Tide Pods since we included laundry detergent) and the only difference is the brand that the product is. So what makes you pick JIF over Peter Pan? Or Tide over the grocery store house-brand? The answer – the differentiating factor.
In short, a differentiating factor is the one thing about a product or brand that sets them apart from other similar products. It can also be called a Unique Selling Proposition. Sometime’s a USP can also be a slogan- let’s look at a few really famous ones so you get the point:
Geico: 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.
Mars, INC: The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.
Subway: Eat Fresh.
Nike: Just Do It.
Levis: Quality never goes out of style.
Each of these slogans and USP define in a single, simple sentence or two, what makes their brand unique and why you should believe that too while also defining their biggest core value.
Also, don’t feel discouraged if you feel like you don’t have a differentiating factor in your service/product. Sometimes it’s in the story of how it all began or the story behind your product or how it’s made!
A great example of this is Tito’s Vodka. Their USP/differentiating factor and almost a majority of their brand is all about the story- handmade in Austin Texas, and it being “America’s Original Craft Vodka.” Because ultimately vodka is vodka. They also do a ton of philanthropic work, which is arguably one of their brand pillars. Go check out their website after you’ve read the blog- you won’t be disappointed.
So how do you figure that out for yourself what these big brand’s have been selling for years and figured out long ago? The easiest way is to do a SWOT analysis of your company- strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. And then after all that, you need to ask yourself what does YOUR product, brand, company, etc. offer or do differently that no one else is doing? That’s your USP. The one thing that makes your brand your brand.
This SWOT analysis should also help you clearly define who your target audience is, where you stand next to your competitors in terms of strengths and weaknesses, and then define your mission as a company/brand/service, which should ultimately help inform and establish your brand pillars. But we’ll get to that later.
Sometimes it also takes a little perspective from a different angle to see what makes you unique. Try looking at your brand through one of these lenses:
All these will help you in landing on a USP, which is going to be helpful for when you create your positioning statement. But, and we cannot stress this enough- if you can’t find absolutely anything that makes what your doing special or different in a world that’s so dense in variations of the same product, you’re going to have a hard time in the end getting off the ground. It’s the harsh reality of this world we live in! So make sure to find one, and if you can’t find one, then grab a redbull or a coffee, your laptop, your business partners, and figure out what you need to do differently to make yourself so unique.
First, what is a positioning statement? Why is this related to what we’re talking about at all? Because a positioning statement also helps establish your uniqueness as a brand. Essentially, it’s a statement that tells your consumers or potential consumers how this product/brand/service is going to meet their needs a way that other competitors cannot. So let’s break it down. A positioning statement has four parts:
Each part can be picked out of any positioning statement you see. Let’s dissect ours just for fun:
If you look at the bottom, that’s where we address out target market- “small business, entrepreneur, solopreneur, or a marketing team”. None of the parts of a positioning statement need to be in order!
The second, give category or context, is addressed when we say “By specializing in a craft, we’re able to take our clients concerns and create campaigns that actually work. Our craft? Brand awareness.” We’re telling you our services and what we do.
The third one, the information on what makes us different, or our USP, is when we address how we deliver and perform our services (we’ll let you decide on which one that is 😉 )
And last, how does it help the consumer achieve their goal? “create and exude clear and concise messaging, clear the confusion and get through to their target audience.” We’re saying that when you work with us, you’ll get to your target audience with your campaigns.
Last, you’re also going to want to clearly have a mission or brand pillars of some sort. Your mission should state in a simple sentence the goal of your business/brand/service, and your pillars should describe the values of your whole company.
Here’s the LBMG Mission:
And here’s some examples of our brand pillars:
To help you put all of this together on your own, we’ve developed a worksheet. Click here to download it for free and be well on your way to establishing your Unique Selling Proposition statement.
Together, with a defined USP, positioning statement, and mission, you consumer should really be convinced about what makes your company the one they choose to go with whatever they need. Don’t stress if you feel like your idea or already established company doesn’t have a good USP – everyone always has something unique about what they’re trying to achieve. No go out there and go get ’em!
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