How to Differentiate Your Brand

In order to establish a meaningful differentiation for your pet business brand, here are some strategies for you.

Begin With Your Positioning

All brands need to establish a compelling and unique positioning to attract customers and resonate with stakeholders. Every single aspect of brand activation – from the core product or service offering to the experience it delivers to customers — must be rooted in (and consistent with) its positioning.

Back in the day, conventional wisdom suggested that brands needed to be positioned around a consumer-facing benefit: in other words, “what” the brand does for you. The “what” question is just one way to position a brand. Today, there are numerous examples of brands that have achieved meaningful differentiation in other ways.

Beef Up Your Customer Experience

Customer experience is another aspect of branding that has become homogenized over the years. As soon as one brand decides to offer a drive-thru option, free delivery, or same-day service, you can bet other brands will quickly follow suit. However, consistent with the point above about positioning, by definition, different brands should provide different experiences.

Too many companies think in terms of “the” optimal customer experience as if only one optimal experience exists. The reality is that different customers are attracted to different brands because they don’t all want the same thing! So why would customers expect (or even want) the same experience from different brands?

Rather than focusing on the ideal customer experience, companies should think in terms of brand experience. Brands should seek to create touchpoints along a customer journey that are consistent with and inspired by the brand positioning. Doing so paves the way for individual brands to consider what they want their interactions with their customers to look like. It also provides customers the benefits of distinctiveness and variety, enabling them to choose the experience that is most meaningful to them.

Keep It Personal

Customers want to feel like people, not mass-marketed demographic numbers. Advances in technology, along with more creative and sophisticated marketing practices, make it easy to customize experiences, so there’s no reason not to provide customers with personalized offers and experiences that make them feel appreciated.

Build Stronger Relationships

Brands must bridge the gap between transaction and relationship in order to connect with customers in more meaningful, lasting ways. Technology and social media make it easy to interact with customers outside the store, but those multiple touchpoints should all be consistent with the brand positioning.

Customers can easily spot disingenuous brand tactics, and they understandably resent them. Resist the temptation to jump on the latest meme or joke just to join the conversation. Instead, touch customers in areas where the brand’s presence makes sense.

Push the Limits of Growth

Following the crowd never produces exceptional results. Brands should reject incremental fads and flavor-of-the-month line extensions. Instead, they should pursue long-term, transformational brand-inspired growth.

Don’t fear extending your brand into new markets and industries. It’s the only way to achieve meaningful and sustained growth. Instead, identify bold steps — without contradicting or otherwise jeopardizing the brand’s positioning — and take the plunge.