Step By Step: How To Differentiate Your Brand

1. Establish the market (the competitive space) in which your brand competes.

2. Identify your target consumers and the benefits they need or want now and in the near future. Think of all the points within the market where value could potentially be added.

3. Identify, from step two, which associations all brands need to deliver just to be competitive in specific market niche. These are the hygiene factors.

4. Identify for each competitor what mix of associations and benefits drives their differentiating value proposition, over and above the hygiene factors.

5. Create new and unique set of associations and benefits from the customer’s needscape. Build on your brand’s current meaning.

6. Work back from each core association or benefit to the features the brand needs to deliver in the areas of brand identity, products/services, operations and communications.

7. Identify the few key associations that together form the brand’s statement of relevant differentiation – the brand’s defining core.

8. Use feedback loop and be willing to evolve or reinvent your brand. Value and relevance in market is dynamic, changing process. What adds value one day may not the next. An attribute may become category hygiene factor or the need that prompted value may become irrelevant over time.

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