Brand Differentiation Tactics: Simple Ways To Set Your Product Apart From the Competition

A hand placing a round wooden piece among square blocks, symbolizing unique solutions and thinking outside the box.

Brand Differentiation Tactics: Simple Ways to Set Your Product Apart from the Competition

A strong brand is a successful brand. And, when trying to attract and convert consumers, nothing works in your favor as effectively as familiarity. According to a 2018 consumer behavior study, 82% of people will click on a solution offered by a familiar brand name when interacting with search engine results pages.

But even though familiarity (along with trust and competence) paves the way for impressive conversion rates, it’s impossible to establish without first differentiating your brand from your competitors. Especially in today’s landscape of diminished customer loyalty, where people are more than willing to leave behind brands whose solutions don’t offer sufficient value or that leave customers wanting a better customer experience.

In other words, to ensure that your business is the first choice of your target audience and the one they return to time and again, you need to employ brand-differentiating tactics. So, without further ado, here are the simple ways to set your product apart from the competition and convert customers who will stay with your business for years.

Spend Time Developing Your Value Proposition

First impressions are everything — not just in real life but on the web and in marketing, too. 

Research shows that consumers form an initial (positive or negative) reaction to a brand within 50 milliseconds. This impression then determines their willingness to interact with said brand. But even more, buyers are ready to completely write off organizations based on multiple factors — from ESG values to website aesthetics to disharmony between a solution’s value and the customer’s aspirational lifestyle.

With this in mind, one of the most effective ways for businesses to differentiate themselves and their products is to identify and heavily market the unique value they provide to customers.

As you apply this tactic to set your product apart from the competition, take your time developing the perfect value proposition for your business. Decide on the key differentiating factors. Define the specific ways they benefit your target audience. Then double down on them in highly visible spots on your website.

Remember, the best way to help a unique value proposition pop is to give it the topmost priority on your landing pages. If you surround it with too many non-crucial elements, you risk diluting the message. However, by using negative space, visuals, and typography to help these sales propositions stand out, you can maximize your chances of attracting web visitors’ attention and inspiring prospects to convert.

An excellent example of how you can achieve this effect comes from the Medical Alert Buyers Guide homepage. Here, the brand dedicates the entire hero section of its site to place its unique sales proposition. The invitation to “compare pros & cons of the top medical alert providers” CTA is so attention-grabbing. But even more, the USP is fully supported by the high contrast between the background and the CTA element and supplemented with a relevant illustration of the type of lifestyle this kind of product allows its elderly users.

Illustration on Medical Alert Buyers Guide for comparing top medical alert providers in 2024

Source: medicalalertbuyersguide.org

Align Your Brand with Credible Industry Voices

Differentiating your brand and products without investing in establishing brand trust is, ultimately, impossible.

Research shows that 81% of consumers need to trust a brand before they even consider investing in one of its solutions. Moreover, brand trust leads to customer loyalty. 59% of people say they’re more likely to buy from businesses, and 67% would be more inclined to champion organizations that they trust.

But how do you build trust that genuinely (and impactfully) sets your products apart from your competitors? Well, one of the best ways to achieve the desired effect is to align your brand with credible industry voices.

In the era of influencer marketing, social proof — specifically that coming from experts — plays a crucial role in inspiring consumers to purchase. Some of the most credible voices across all industries come from the crowd. PwC discovered that 37% of consumers go to social media for purchase inspiration. Furthermore, Edelman’s special report on Gen Z consumer behavior found that young buyers trust experts like doctors, scientists, educators, friends, and family.

The primary takeaway from this data — especially for businesses trying to stand out from the crowd — is that winning customer trust and using it to inspire purchases requires a branding strategy that aligns your brand with credible voices.

Showing off standard instances of social proof — especially user-generated content — is an excellent way to achieve this effect. However, for the best possible results, it’s also crucial that you create an association between your company and products and expert voices in your target industry. Otherwise, your claims will remain just that — unfounded and unproven promises.

A great tactic to maximize brand trust by harnessing the power of your associate’s credibility is to do something similar to Digestive Warrior and use your website (and social media) to show off expert opinions about what your business does. In this particular example, the brand’s founder conducts an interview with a medical professional to chat about a particular product and discuss its benefits for treating specific health issues.

Interview with Dr. Todd on Digestive Warrior highlighting insights on parasites and the Para Kit.

Source: digestivewarrior.com

Offer Unique Pricing Options That Aren’t Typical in Your Niche

Most business leaders and marketers understand the importance of pricing when trying to boost sales. After all, 74% of Americans say that offers are a significant factor when deciding what solutions to invest in. 

However, even though cost and value play a key factor in consumers’ buying journey, pricing is still commonly overlooked as a differentiation tactic. But the fact is, making an effort to tweak your product prices in a way that will differ from your competitors could be the key to shaping your brand’s reputation in the eyes of your target audience. 

To do this well, you need to steer clear of the middle ground.

When using price to stand out from your competitors, there are two options you can choose from. On the one hand, you can sell solutions for less money than other businesses in your niche, associating your business with cost-effectiveness, affordability, and savings. Or you can sell at premium prices, using the higher cost to increase your products’ perceived exclusivity and quality.

For instance, Apple is a brand that expertly uses price as a differentiation factor. Even though, from a technical point of view, its solutions aren’t always the most innovative or boast the highest tech specs, the business still sells at a premium. And the reason this is possible? Well, Apple products offer a unique feel and performance and deliver an elevated user experience. But more importantly, they’re marketed as professional tools, which enables the brand to charge a considerably higher tariff than its competitors (even when it doesn’t provide better solutions).

However, if you really want to use pricing as a differentiation tactic, perhaps it’s also a good idea to consider how you can use pricing to attract a bigger audience, boost conversion rates, and maximize loyalty.

For example, offering an extended trial period in an industry where free trials aren’t that common — as done by Ultimate Meal Plans — can be a great way to get your foot in the door and establish your business as the go-to in your niche. Alternatively, you could play around with subscription options for consumable products (think of how Dollar Shave Club became a household name).

Comparison of monthly, quarterly, and yearly meal plans showcasing savings on Ultimate Meal Plans.

Source: ultimatemealplans.com

Inject Some Personality into Your Content

Differentiating your brand through pricing, credibility, or value offered are all excellent tactics for ensuring your solutions stand out in a crowd. But the simple fact is that consumers seldom make shopping decisions solely based on objective factors. Instead, their emotions play a big part in determining what brands and products they’ll love and choose.

With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that brand personality holds a lot of sway over your audience’s buying behavior. 

A 2020 survey reveals that 57% of people choose to invest in products sold by brands with “big” personalities. But scientific research from the year before also found that personality positively impacts brand love, loyalty, willingness to pay more, and active engagement. And it could even affect your audience’s resistance to negative information about your products and services.

So, to set your organization apart from the competition, explore ways to inject personality into your content. That way, your business won’t just be another provider of solutions. It will become an entity your audience will want to interact with online.

For an excellent example of a brand that does this in a natural and approachable way, check out Sokisahtel. This e-commerce business regularly mines staff activity and behind-the-scenes company happenings for social media and blog content. Moreover, it makes sure to construct entertaining and relatable narratives when showing off products online, as well as publish blog content that reflects its target audience’s interests, hobbies, and needs.

Source: facebook.com

Align Your Brand with Your Founder’s Online Persona

Did you know that buyers often look to the founder or CEO of an organization to determine whether to trust (and buy from) a business? That’s right. People crave connection. One of the best ways to help them establish that connection with your brand is to allow them to interact with the individuals who keep the wheels turning behind the scenes.

According to data published by Sprout Social, 70% of consumers report feeling more connected to businesses whose CEOs are active on social media. And 72% of people feel that same connection when receiving the chance to interact with company employees. 

The great news is that this differentiation tactic is super easy to achieve. For instance, if you check out the Twitter account of Alex Chriss (CEO of PayPal), you’ll see how this entrepreneur uses every available opportunity to share his passion for innovation and serving customers, framing each tweet as a reflection of the values PayPal stands for.

Alex Chriss, CEO of PayPal, highlighting community service and customer engagement in NYC.

Source: twitter.com

Highlight Your Dedication to Upholding ESG Values

Differentiating your business and attracting customers hugely depends on the core values that shape your company. 

Stats show that 86% of consumers think brands should actively shape ESG best practices. More importantly, 76% of people would be prepared to stop interacting with a brand that mistreats employees, communities, and the environment.

So, if you want to guarantee that your potential customers perceive your business as special (and worth the investment), do your best to find opportunities to highlight your dedication to specific environmental or social causes.

One of the more subtle ways to do this is to weave your brand’s support of a specific cause into its very identity. For example, if you check out the Greyparrot homepage, you’ll see that the waste intelligence SaaS brand positions eco-friendliness at the center of its organizational values. This is achieved through web design, copy, and content, as well as through a marketing strategy that heavily incorporates the distribution of educational resources like live video and webinars.

Greyparrot's homepage with a tagline promoting increased resource recovery through waste intelligence.

Source: greyparrot.ai 

The alternative way to achieve a similar effect is to show off compliance and trust badges in highly visible spots on your site, as done on the Ondato homepage.

Display of international compliance authorities certificates on Ondato's website.

Source: ondato.com

Shine a Bright Light on Customer Service

Lastly, as you explore ways to differentiate your business, consider if you can do it by providing better customer service than your competitors.

If you look into consumer behavior research reports, you’ll find customer support ranks high on most buyer’s shopping priorities. And this is particularly true when evaluating B2B (and particularly SaaS) solutions. 

A 2023 survey conducted by Forbes discovered that: 

  • 76% of consumers will go out of their way to do business with a brand that provides superior customer service. 
  • 86% of buyers would switch brands for better customer support. 
  • To 48% of people, customer service is more important than price.

Quite obviously, your business and team need to go above and beyond to elevate the customer experience. These stats also prove that highlighting the superiority of your brand’s customer care program could help you become an industry leader.

Overall, there are various methods to prioritize CX and customer support on your site. For example, multiple contact options, self-help resources, and customer-oriented policies make for an excellent start. However, if you want to do better than your competitors, consider extending your customer care activities to social media, where 67% of consumers go to resolve issues.

One of the best examples of a brand winning the differentiation game by employing this tactic comes from Calendly. This brand has a dedicated support profile on Twitter, where it helps customers who reach out with a problem. Even more importantly, the business utilizes social media listening to proactively identify potential issues users may experience or uncover new product improvement opportunities.

Screenshot of Calendly support responding to a user request on social media about ProtonCalendar integration.

Source: twitter.com

Final Thoughts

Standing out from the crowd is essential in today’s world of infinite consumer choice. Especially if you consider that buyers have little patience for less-than-perfect CX, want great value at a low cost, and are not afraid to ditch even those brands they’ve been using for years for a slightly better offer.

Fortunately, differentiating your company is relatively simple. The tactics outlined in this guide are all excellent ways to draw your target audience’s attention to your business, delight your existing customers, and inspire loyalty. Don’t hesitate to incorporate them into your marketing efforts. And, of course, make sure to tweak them as needed, not just so they align with your goals but also to ensure they are perfectly optimized to appeal to your ideal customers.