Differentiating your business from those of your competitors can have a major effect on overall success. When considering the current financial climate and the damage to businesses from Covid-19 and lockdown, anyway in which you can boost sales should be seriously considered. Fortunately, there are countless ways in which a company can boost its brand identity, many of which do not require massive amounts of investment or expertise.
Obviously, pricing plays a significant role in sales and profit, but it can also be an effective branding tool. Many companies will attempt to price match their competitors, or even offer products and services for slightly cheaper, in order to incentivise customers. However, if you’re in a popular sector, with many competitors, price matching doesn’t differentiate you from the pack and could lead to your business fading into the background.
When it comes to pricing, businesses that are trying to stand out from their competitors have two different options, competitive pricing or premium pricing. It may seem counter-intuitive to increase pricing in order to boost sales, but premium pricing can increase the perceived value of your products and potentially set you apart as a “luxury” brand, e.g., Apple. However, this can be a risky move, and you will need to back it up with high-quality products and services.
The alternative to premium pricing is lowering your prices and therefore set yourself apart with affordability. Many businesses choose this approach, and it can be extremely effective, especially during periods of economic uncertainty. The downside to competitive pricing is a potential perceived lack of quality in your products and services.
Pricing is a quick and easy way to completely transform your branding, but business owners should approach this with caution and do some research before taking the plunge.
One of the most obviously visible forms of branding for a business is the products themselves. Just by providing a range of specific products and services, you are making a statement about your brand. However, there is a sliding scale when it comes to product branding, and there is a wide variety of ways to set yourself apart from your competition.
When you’re providing products and services that are similar to those from other companies, you need to stand out. One such way is by showcasing your products as the highest quality or premium and therefore take the high-end market. Whilst this can be effective, you do need to back this up with products that actually do offer some sort of premium.
Another major departure from the norm is a business offering novel or highly specific products. This can happen through innovation, therefore creating something new or providing a solution that nobody else is providing.
Differentiating your products doesn’t have to be about the products themselves but can also be how you showcase them. An effective advertising campaign or even particularly novel packaging can lead to a business being a brand leader in a particular area. For example, the John Lewis Christmas advert is eagerly awaited each year and always leads to a boost in sales for the brand.
A business that is providing similar products at similar price points to their competitors can differentiate themselves through the services that they offer. Obviously, this includes customer service that goes above and beyond, such as good communication, attention to detail and a fast and satisfactory solution to any issues which may arise.
It’s worth noting that there are other aspects to differentiating the services that you offer, other than standard customer service. For example, your business could provide comprehensive after-care services, such as repairs, servicing or even just customer advice.
Treating the customer like they are special can go a long way in setting your business apart from potential competitors. The way in which staff interact with customers from the initial approach, all the way to after-sales can be incredibly important. If customers feel like they have been treated particularly well, they are much more likely to do repeat business and even more importantly, tell their friends and family. Word of mouth advertising, although often difficult to get, can be much more effective than paid adverts or marketing campaigns.
Branding in business is comprehensive, with so many options to consider. We at Salhan Accountants offer a range of expert services, including advice on business structures. If you would like any advice or help with branding, don’t hesitate to get in touch.