This post is part of our Brand Awareness 101 series: blog articles filled with helpful tips, insights and strategies to take your brand recognition to the next level.

Southwest: Low fares, less fees

Progressive: Bundle & Save

Mercedes: The Best or Nothing

Again and again, these big brands advertise their key benefits. In the minds of consumers, they’re synonymous with their products and services. These aren’t just selling points. These are points of difference.

So far in our Brand Awareness 101 series, we’ve discussed the ins and outs of brand awareness and how a digital campaign can bring your brand recognition to the next level. This week, we’re helping you find your point of difference.

What is a point of difference?
Your point of difference is your key “it” factor that makes your brand unique. And just like the brands above, emphasizing your point of difference allows you to stand out in a crowded and competitive marketplace.

What makes a great point of difference?
Glad you asked! A great point of difference:

1.    Answers a consumer pain point
Remember our examples from earlier? Whether its saving money, avoiding unnecessary extras or demanding superior quality, a great point of difference answers a key consumer need. 

2.    Differentiates your brand from competitors 
Your consumers have choices, so what makes you unique? There’s something you do better than anyone, so share it with confidence. 

3.    Is memorable and to-the-point  
“Home of the Whopper” or “The Happiest Place on Earth,” great brands know that short and sweet is key to sticking with consumers.    

How do I find my point of difference?
Ready to start? Here are the four “whats” to get you on the right track. 

1.    Gather what you know
First, we need to lay out the competitive landscape: That’s your top competitors, their strengths and weaknesses and the strategies they use to achieve their sales goals. So let’s put together that list of competitors. It’s a good time to see who’s still around, who’s evolved and who’s brand new. 

2.    Discover what you need to learn
Now we’re ready to dive deeper. Check your competitor’s websites and social media presence. What do they do well? What points of difference do they emphasize—and what does your own brand offer that they don’t? Turn your attention to your audience. Consider surveying current customers or working with a competitive audit partner to find out their pain points and what they’re looking for. Finally, consider the industry at large by digging into business news and trade publications. How has the market changed in the last 5 years? Where is the industry going? 

3.    Find what inspires you
Now it’s time for some inspiration. Whether it’s their branding, their tone of voice or just the quality of their products, we all have a brand that inspires us. Find one from any industry that you admire and start researching: how do they present themselves? How do they stand out? What are they known for? And what can your brand learn from them? 

4.    Figure out what it all means for you
Time to put it all together. After looking at the competitive landscape, consumers, industry insights and out-of-category inspiration, let’s look at your brand. What are the advantages of choosing you versus a competitor? What pain points does your brand answer for your audience? Where will you continue to grow or focus on improving? Distill these answers down, talk to your team members about them and find the one that feels the most ownable and authentic.  

With a clear point of difference, you can communicate your value to consumers in a compelling and succinct way. 

Need some help finding that point of difference? From quantitative research to workshops and messaging, Madison Design is here every step of the way. Reach out to learn more about our collaborative approach to branding and marketing success.