Set Yourself Apart through Positive Differentiation

If a restaurant sells hamburgers, on the surface it is a fairly straight forward concept, yet if we want to differentiate our hamburger restaurant client, then we might look a little further, defining what it is that makes these hamburgers special. It could be the feed that the cattle received, the vitamins and nutrients added to the feed or the processed meat. The leanness of the meat, temperature at which the meat is stored, and its cooking temperature could all be considerations to ensure a safe, healthy, delicious burger.

Established Companies can Build on a Wealth of Existing Resources
With many business-to-business companies there is considerable research to be done in order to understand the product line, its options and the technical aspects of the product’s functions. In established companies there is usually considerable information available on the company and its products and services; literature, brochures, reports, data sheets, white papers, product-market analysis, power-point presentations, videos, web site, etc. We will review this material, conduct marketing, sales, and engineering interviews, as well as review competition’s product information. From this information an existing communication platform becomes evident that usually defines features, benefits, and applications. It may also present solutions and advantages – salient branding points that can be used to differentiate a client and their products or services. Depending upon the information provided we can either build on the existing communications platform, or we can create a significantly revised approach.

An existing company may also have other considerations to address such as competing products or product lines, naming and branding confusion, delivery, quality control, and service issues.

Starting at Mile Marker One
Start-up companies and companies that may have been in existence for some time but have not had the necessity to create communications, require a ground-up approach. Usually, these companies do not yet have a lengthy history and an extensive product line to define. Information can be gathered through interviews with principals and key marketing and engineering personnel, review of business plans, any marketing analysis done by an outside organization, and competitor literature and web sites. At times, companies have “solutions in search of a market.”

Here, we will create initial overviews of the company, personnel, and products and/or services. Then, develop a product/service platform based on each market area. This platform consists of the features, benefits, solutions, applications, and the advantages offered by product or service. Once this is done, one defines a communication platform that supports the company and their products or services' “reason for existence.”

From this information two guideposts can be defined; Internally – a Mission Statement is the summation of the standards that need to be maintained to ensure the delivery of a quality product/service. Outwardly – a Branding Platform communicates both to employees and to consumers the purpose of the organization and the benefits that the customer or client is to receive through the use of the product or service.