Differentiating your brand from the competition involves more than just features and benefits.
In the aviation industry all brands have competition. A successful brand goes past the product’s functionality of features and benefits and creates an emotional connection with their customers. Understanding what drives your customers’ decision-making process provides the foundation for brand differentiation and preference.
Brand differentiation starts with customer insight
For a full appreciation for the customer’s decision-making process, one should start with the issues and factors affecting the market segment.
Key questions to ask:
- Are there any regulations – government, environmental, financial – in place that can affect the selection of your product or service offering?
- Is there any negative associations connected with the market segment?
- Does your product or service offering solve a regulatory problem, change a perception, or reduce cost based on superior technology?
Understanding the environment surrounding the market segment provides a foundation for creating a brand preference by identifying external hot buttons that drive decision-making in the purchasing process.
Once the market segment environment is understood, you can then move to defining the need for your offering. Areas to look at:
- Is it essential to your customer’s end product?
- Is there a unique feature?
- Does it satisfy a customer’s core values?
- Are there competitive barriers in place?
- Do you have a technology or process advantage that can command a premium price?
Ranking your offering – high to low – identifies certain unique attributes of your offering that can become the basis for your brand promise.
With your points of differentiation defined, now you can start to develop key messages that resonate with decision makers and influencers.
When developing the key messages, pay attention to the following:
- Go past the obvious of attribute and benefit. Understanding that your competitors’ offering solves the same problem, you can then move to the emotional reward for selecting your brand.
- What is the underlying value proposition your offering brings to the table?
- What core value does your brand represent that are important to the decision maker and influencer?
Emotional connection and the brand promise
The brand promise provides the emotional reward that creates the connection. The brand promise exceeds positioning and functionality and offers a solution to the customer’s situation.
The brand promise is formulated by:
- Understanding and communicating your point of differentiation
- Gaining insight into the customer’s decision making process
- Realizing the influencing factors unique to the customer’s environment
- Empathizing with their needs and concerns
- Offering your solution in a way that resonates with their emotional needs
- Building a relationship of trust by exceeding their expectations