Differentiating your Brand: provide leadership

Another strategy for [tag-tec]brand differentiation[/tag-tec] is assuming a leadership role in your market. [tag-tec]Jack Trout[/tag-tec] and [tag-tec]Steve Rivkin[/tag-tec], in their book, [tag-tec]Differentiate or Die[/tag-tec], claim it’s THE most powerful differentiator.

Leading the chargeLeadership establishes credentials for your brand better than any other method. So people tend believe your message and assume quality, reliability, service and innovation are automatically delivered.

But how to establish leadership is the big question, particularly in local retail markets and in business services.

The first principal: proactively take a leadership position. Become a leader in your own mind first. Imbed this idea in employee training and orientation. Make being a leader a high priority.

Second, actively solicit publicity. Participate in industry associations, local chambers, charitable efforts. Whenever there’s an opportunity, make your opinions known about issues and events of interest to your market. Speak with passion publically. Speak often.

Third, participate in competitions. Public recognition by peers can be leveraged in this way.

Fourth, look to the long haul. Wresting leadership from today’s front runner will be difficult. They’ll want to continue wearing that mantel.

Like all other strategies, you’ll have to assess your market and the present positions of you and your competitors. As I’ve said often, paraphrasing [tag-tec]Ries[/tag-tec] and Trout in [tag-tec]Positioning: the Battlefield for Your Mind[/tag-tec], find a position not now occupied by a strong competitor. They have the advantage of “being there” and establishing their reputation over a period of time.

But if no one’s taken the lead and you have the resources to challenge and sustain that role, go for it.

Martin Jelsema

3 thoughts on “Differentiating your Brand: provide leadership

  1. “The first principal: proactively take a leadership position. Become a leader in your own mind first.”

    I agree 100%

    One of the best ways to achieve this is to start a business blog.

    Blogging not only helps to take a leadership position in a customer’s mind, it also helps to think about business strategy too.

    In my opinion every business owner or CEO must start a business blog. I see a lot of the benefits and very few shortcomings from doing this.

  2. Linus:

    Yes, I agree that blogging can be a major way to gain a leadership position, particularly for professional service providers like you and me. I’d say restaurants, pet stores and garden shops in the retail sector would be good candidates, and many others that don’t come to mind readily.

    However, I think some businesses would be hard-pressed to make a blog viable. Owners of local firms like dry cleaners and barber shops may have things to say, but I believe not too many consumers will have enough interest to look for their musings on the web.

    There are, of course, exceptions.

    Martin

  3. Martin,

    While lot of businesses can benefit from blogging for sure, I agree that not all business can do that.

    But this is business and you never know what and where can happen.

    Imagine you are the owner of a small shop. There are few competitors and they started a business blog while you did not.

    But what if your competitor’s blog becomes a hit in your community? What if the community finds your competitors blog a nice place to visit? What if it evolves to something more than a simple business blog? It can do a lot of harm to you.

    You can’t predict the future. That’s why it is a wise idea to start a business blog. Because you never know the future, you never know what competitors do, you never know what can be the next big thing. If you will not benefit from your business blog, it can prevent you from benefiting your competitor.

    Yes in fact this is a complicated issue. I even wrote an entire e-book on this topic – “The New Rules of Business Blogs”. You are welcome to check it out in my blog at http://www.positioningstrategy.com. Please feel free to post it on your blog or pass the e-book to whomever you believe might benefit from reading it.

    P.S. Linas, not Linus… Sorry for that… 🙂

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