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.
Leadership 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.