Creating real product differentiation. Hard. Worth it? Contributor David Caissie thinks so, Read on.
Does anyone really know what ever happened to that fifth dentist that didn’t recommend Trident for their patients who chew gum? All most of us can remember is that Trident had this distinction of somehow being the optimal choice by dentists all over the country. Actually the slogan may have not even been about recommending Trident. I think it just said sugarless gum, but everybody still remembers Trident as having this advantage—or competitive edge if you prefer. Whatever you want to call it, they did a great job of creating a significant product differentiation.
The problem with trying to repeat what Trident managed to create decades ago is that it’s flat out harder to create real product differentiation today. When Trident created their successful branding campaign it worked because most of the competition they were facing was from tooth decayers like Bazooka Joe and Juicy Fruit. Today a lot of brands of cell phone companies offer unlimited texting, a lot of pizza is made with “fresh” ingredients, and most cars in a similar price range offer relatively similar features. It’s a big challenge today to create that special branding that consumers can develop an affinity for.
Creating differentiation may be harder, but it can still be done. You can appeal to value customers by offering a perceived notion of “more bang for their buck.” You can also effectively use promotions and free trials to bring in new customers, hoping that once they try your product they will undoubtedly fall in love with its uniqueness. The key at this point is to make sure you drive home that air of uniqueness with effective advertising that reinforces it.
Appealing to vanity
What about appealing to a consumers sense of affordability or luxury. Some buyers will always buy the cheapest option, and it’s not entirely dependent on income level. Plenty of wealthy people still purchase the cheapest detergents, sneakers, and paper products. On the other hand, other folks will always pay more for a luxury product because of a perceived increase in quality. Within reason, this isn’t entirely income dependent either.
Tougher in a global marketplace
It may be a tougher challenge in today’s highly competitive global marketplace to create real product differentiation, but it’s definitely still a valuable edge. Just take a look at those that do it best like Apple and lululemon. Whether you do it through price, promotion, advertising, or some other creative method all of your own, product differentiation needs to remain at the forefront of your advertising focus.
The MAD House knows exactly how to create real product differentiation to give your company a competitive edge. Please contact us today for more information.