6 Ways You Can Differentiate Your Creative Business
Wait, what exactly does it mean to "Differentiate" your business.
It simply means setting your company apart from your competition. It could be a specific element, like your distribution network, message or price-point. It provides a superior level of awesomeness to your customers and helps your company to distinguish itself in the marketplace.
AKA - Helps YOU stand out in the crazy online marketplace.
The differentiation strategy a business chooses will depend on its industry, competitive market, and the products or services it's selling but here are a few ways that you can differentiate your creative brand:
How is your product different? Do you use different materials, use a different process, or make something super unique?
Product differentiation is a strategy used by businesses to highlight the unique benefits and features of a product to differentiate it from competitors. In order to use this strategy you communicate these benefits consistently through your campaigns and promotions. Also known as a differentiation strategy, product differentiation is a method for companies to make their products stand out from competitors and captivate the attention of their customers. Eventually the company will develop a strong recognizable brand that will be chosen over non-branded competitors. Basically product differentiating can be based on features, performance, style or design...
If you want to be a business that makes product differentiation work for your handmade products you have to have the following qualities:
- The resources and knowledge to create high-quality products
- The ability and time to research, and develop new products
- Marketing and sales strategies that feature the benefits and competitive advantage of the product or service
So this one can be an interesting differentiator if you sell a difficult product....this is a business model that sells items as a service that were traditionally sold as a product. So let's say you craft truly custom cabinetry or intricate ceramic tile, then you could offer to install the product as your service. Maybe you handcraft and engineer custom wood stoves so you start offering installation as part of your unique selling proposition. You could also sell your product along with event services. You could partner up with local catering businesses and offer to supply them with unique new pottery pieces for their food displays. This might be an interesting way to collaborate. You can also sell your knowledge of course and offer to do classes. Maybe you sell to local boutique stores and offer to stock their shelves and deliver new product every 6 weeks? Have you ever thought of leasing products? Maybe your customers like to switch things up so you offer a new piece of art every 6 months and they return the old? Who knows, just think differently. Service Differentiation is based on aspects such as speedy or careful delivery, opening hours, customer care etc.
So this option as a differentiator could simply be you sell only online, or in boutique locations, or through small home parties. Or heck, if you sell pottery maybe you sell your product only in small coffee shops.
Offer a truly unique technology or process. Perhaps you invented a new and proprietory process for firing clay? Or maybe you discovered a unique approach to metalsmithing. Whatever it may be you can build a business that offers a unique relationship to your customers.
Try an approach that is a whole different way of approaching the problem that offers a unique benefit to the client.
You can also specialize in serving special clients or a different industry. This can be a common differentiator but is sometimes overlooked. Perhaps you work with luxury resorts or luxury Dog boutiques and offer a unique line of very expensive dog collars if you are a jewelry designer...Or maybe you are build functional pottery for high end restaurants?
Specialize in clients that share a common characteristic. Maybe you create products just for stay at home moms or you make custom hand sewn scrubs for pediatricians.
Image Differentiation refers to the image a company or a brand has in consumers’ minds. Whereas your visual identity comprises the ways that you want to position yourself and products in customers minds. Your image though is the way the public actually perceives your company or product. Sometimes what you think you are saying isn't actually what your customers hear.
What is your visual identity saying to your customers?
Is it saying the right thing?
Have you thought about what your brand in this way yet?
The development of a strong and distinctive image requires creativity and a lot of work over a long period of time. If you want to attain a consistent identity it's important you design and develop one that can be harnessed from the very beginning. It's important to think about your visual identity because people are visual. There is no stronger type of differentiation. You have to build a personality around your brand so that you can be immediately recalled in the minds of your customers. If you want to differentiate your company by high quality, this image must be supported by absolutely everything your company does.
Perhaps you have been in the industry for a long time. Or perhaps doing things very differently feels risky. I see this all the time. Well, a very different look and feel can be a powerful differentiator for your business. Combine this with other differentiators and you have the makings of a robust competitive advantage. YES! I like that don't you?
For image differentiation to work, it must be conveyed through every available brand touchpoint, including logos, media, packaging, promotions, and special events.
One piece of super valuable advice is to always be Consistent.
Pricing can be an appropriate approach depending on what your goal is...If you are wanting to stand out as a leader in your marketplace, sometimes raising your prices will help and who doesn't like to make more for your goods. Although alternatively it's important not to out price yourself.
If you need help discovering what makes your brand different I have a little template HERE. It will walk you through how to make your brand stand out in the crowd.
If you need a bit more help positioning your creative business in the marketplace that you are in. Send me a DM. I would be happy to help.