Differentiation Part 2: How passionate and loyal are your customers?


In part 1, I discussed the basics of differentiation. If another brand differentiates better, your customers won’t have any reason to value you for it, unless you happen to be cheaper. If customers aren’t singing your praises to friends and associates, your challenger brand could be missing its point of differentiation. To help you do that, you need to clearly understand who you are and why you matter to customers. To know that, you have to ask.

We help clients do this with their branding all the time. Here are 5 ways to make sure you’re communicating the points of difference (that, in turn, will make sure you matter to your customers):

1. Conduct customer research. The best way to find out if and why customers value you is to ask them. A survey accompanied by a letter or email explaining that you want to make sure you are providing the best service can do wonders. Encourage them to be blunt, and offer them the opportunity to provide the feedback blind (without their name attached). Give them the option to provide their name and contact info for detailed follow up.

2. Rank your attributes. Rank why customers do business with you based on THEIR opinions, not yours. List as many attributes, characteristic, and capabilities as you can and allow your customers to tell you how those rank when it comes to their buying decision or their overall experience with your brand.

LOOMIS Imagibrand Process

3. Create benefit statements. Take what you learn from your customers, weigh those against what you can and want to deliver, and create benefit statements that accurately depict (A) the things that you deliver that (B) your customers value you for most. It is EXTREMELY important that you actually be able to – and want to – deliver the attributes and characteristics they desire, otherwise yours will be a business model you can’t sustain.

4. Create a messaging platform. Take your benefit statements and create a messaging platform to shape how you’ll communicate to customers and prospects. For each of your target audiences, you’ll need to be able to delineate the following:

  • What is the single most important benefit we provide to this target audience?
  • What is the most compelling thing we can say to them about this benefit and how we provide it?
  • What proof points can we provide to help them believe this?
  • What, ideally, do we want them to do once they have received this information (fill out a form, call us, go to a page on our website, call a dealer? etc.)
  • How do we want to measure the success of our results

5. Communicate these statements consistently. Once you understand why customers in each of your target audiences value you, you will have the tools you need to reach customers (and potential customers) at every possible point of contact. It’s important to be consistent in what you say, no matter the venue, from your website (critical) to your marketing or advertising materials, sales letters, trade shows, packaging, internal communications … you get the idea.

There you have it. A straightforward approach to understanding why your challenger brand matters to customers, what is important to them, and how you can use that knowledge to differentiate your company and brand. Following the simple steps above, it is not that hard to do.