Are you differentiating your brand?

At TLM, more and more we’re finding potential clients are coming to us looking for the tactical fixes to address new marketing challenges. They’re quick to ask about the best and/or trendiest social media bandwagon, how to function around heavy-handed anti-spam legislation, how and where to employ content marketing.

All important questions, but what seems to be increasingly missing from the conversation are the marketing fundamentals – the traditional strategic lens that we should look through when asking these questions.

To step back from the barrage of tactical options, I ask clients to take a trip with me to the marketing DELI (Differentiate, Engage, Leverage and Integrate). If we focus on these marketing fundamentals, the process will help guide the “what to do” questions that will follow.

Over the next while, we’ll look at each of the categories in the DELI. We’ll start with D, naturally.

Do you differentiate?

In Three Questions You Need to Ask About Your Brand, Harvard Business Review authors Keller, Sternthal, and Tybout posed a simple (yet complex) challenge to marketers. To ensure a long-term, results-oriented brand, we must answer these questions:

  1. Have We Established a Frame?
  2. Are We Leveraging Our Points of Parity?
  3. Are the Points of Difference Compelling?

They argue that all too often we think we are ticking all three boxes when in fact many times we stop at number two, positioning ourselves squarely on the same field as most competitors.

Visual identity and branding are also a key means of differentiating. A memorable look differentiates your brand. Of course, it needs to be backed up by delivering on the basic expectations.

The best differentiation adds value. What about adding value to the community as a whole through a commitment to doing good for neighbours in addition to doing well for customers? Or, in the post-COVID world, will corporate responsibility simply be a point of parity – a baseline? Let’s hope so.

Once you’ve brainstormed your most essential points of difference, it’s important to know if they’re truly compelling and worth the effort. That step is simple – talk to your customers. Engage with them.

Engagement is another important product in the DELI…

Next: Read Six ways to engage customers.

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