In a world where you are bombarded by advertisements everywhere you look, it can be hard to tell one brand from another. Even if you see an ad you like, you often need help remembering who it was from.
What can you do as a brand to stand out and differentiate yourself from the competition? How can you make your product more memorable and ensure your target audience knows exactly where to look when looking for it?
Here are eight tactics for brands who want to go the extra mile, invest additional effort, and set themselves apart from the competition. They can help increase conversion rates, boost customer lifetime value, and ultimately turn you into a recognizable, widely regarded brand.
Take advantage of prime real estate
First impressions matter in branding. As the saying goes, you will never get a second chance to impress a visitor. The beliefs and views they form at this initial point of contact will linger for a long time.
This is why the header section of your homepage needs to be carefully considered. What do you want your customers to know when they land on your site? What do you want to make them feel? What kind of impression would you like them to walk away with?
The key here is to find a way to make your copy and your visual elements work well together. Settle on tone of voice, key information, and emotional appeal. Then, work with copywriters and designers who understand how these ideas can be communicated well.
Let’s take a look at two successful examples of header design. First, Vivion has chosen a simple header design with an unobtrusive carousel that highlights the three key aspects of their brand: what they sell and to whom, a statement about the quality of their product, and the ready availability of expert advisors.
They use straightforward language here, knowing they don’t need to awe their customers with fancy terms. They are all about simplicity, quality, and a no-frills kind of marketing approach.
As our other example, let’s look at BaseLang, who have chosen to communicate their message via video. They’ve asked their customers to testify to the quality of the language courses. All of them use their own words and highlight what makes the brand stand out: native speakers, the kindness of the teachers, and how fast they have seen results.
This is a great way to stand out, and it is also a very honest one. You can never offer as telling a testimony as your customers can.
Demonstrate your product in detail
Another great way to differentiate your brand is to demonstrate what the product does in great detail.
Most brands will only tick the most essential boxes when it comes to product descriptions and demonstrations. They will tell you what the product is and what it does, providing some basic keywords you can use to judge whether it’s a good fit for your needs.
The brands that go the extra mile to show the product in action, provide in-depth descriptions, usage guides, comparisons, and any other content format that helps a customer make a purchasing decision will instantly stand out.
Here’s an example of a brand that does this well. eTraining sells safety courses and provides online certification. In their neck of the woods, it can be challenging to know who to trust. How can you possibly know if one course is better than another?
The brand has carefully considered this and created course previews that give their audience five minutes with the course itself. You can quickly scroll through the slides, see what they look like and the kind of language used, and hear your instructor speaking.
Together with each course description, they easily give you an excellent overview of what you’ll learn and show you the quality you can expect.
This instantly sets them apart from competitors, as you are granted more in-depth and personal access before you ever sign up for the course. You’ll know exactly what you are signing up for.
Produce videos for product Pages
If you are an eCommerce brand, you can use product videos to set differentiate yourself from your competition.
Most brands will need more time to do this. It’s a time-consuming effort that certainly pays off in the long run.
First of all, it appeals to a wider audience range. Those who prefer to learn about a product by watching a video will stick around, as will those who prefer to read about it.
Secondly, it allows you to show the product in a much more appealing manner than the combination of images and text ever allows you to. Your customers can judge its size and hear about its application, its benefits, and the best ways to use it.
Depending on the nature of the product, you can shoot all kinds of videos. You can do tutorials, FAQs, or Q&As. You can discuss its benefits or how you came to create it. Consider what would help you stand out and convert your audience the most.
FOCL’s sleep gummies product page is a great example to reference. It has plenty of written content, but there is also a handy video that answers many questions customers will likely have about this type of product. The brand has carefully considered what the biggest conversion obstacles or unknowns are likely to be and responded to them preemptively.
Not many other brands will take the time to produce this kind of video, so they will instantly stand out. They care about your peace of mind as a customer, and they’ve done all they can to help you make the right purchasing decision.
Give some of your Knowledge away for free
If you are selling a knowledge-based product, it can be very tempting to want to monetize every single bit and scrap of information you have. After all, this is the product. What you know and what you can teach someone is your very core.
Most brands of this kind will choose to offer little to their prospective customers, which is where you can swoop in and differentiate yourself instantly. All you have to do is give away some of your knowledge for free.
Don’t think of this as a waste or a freebie that will not get you far. It will generate immense goodwill towards your brand and elevate you above your competition.
You will come off as caring and interested in more than just the bottom line. This will allow you to both grow your lead base and convert more of them.
MarketBeat is a great example to reference and base your strategy on. For example, this table of penny stocks is completely free to access. You don’t have to sign up for the service, nor do you need any kind of free trial. You can look at the entire list and even learn more about penny stocks from the guide featured below.
You can even filter the list and get just the kind of data you want. Only some of the filters are locked and thus monetized.
By giving access to this kind of valuable report, the brand understands that a lot of their audience will ultimately convert, as they begin to see the reliability of the data and its many use cases. And they have instantly become more memorable than other similar brands who demand your email address to view a single scrap of data.
Make measurable promises to your audience
To stand out and differentiate yourself from your competition, sometimes you have to make bold statements.
By making precise, clear, and measurable statements to your audience, you can appeal to your audience in a more meaningful way. When people see a number, a percentage, or some kind of measurable expected outcome from using your product or service, they will associate something quite specific with your brand. They will remember it, and this is what will set you apart.
However, you need to be quite careful here. You don’t want to make any claims you can’t later live up to. And you have to make sure that your claims and promises can’t get you into any legal trouble with a dissatisfied customer.
Aim for promising just enough to attract your audience among your competitors. It may take some trial and error. Embark on this course of action once you’ve had sufficient experience to know what results you can reasonably promise.
Going’s page on cheap flights is a good example of how you can set about it. You are told that you can expect “up to 90%” savings on your flight. This is a high number, but the “up to” makes up for any potential disappointment, as there are no guarantees for your specific ticket.
You are also shown anchor prices for specific tickets alongside the amount you are expected to save on them. This provides tangible and realistic expectations without setting the brand up for disillusionment on their customer’s part.
Publish exceptional content with minimal sales pressure
Content marketing also provides numerous ways you can differentiate yourself from your competitors and be remembered by your audience.
One tactic you can try is creating plenty of educational content to address your audience’s pain points. A big part of your audience will come to you looking for information rather than a solution. They will want to learn more and educate themselves enough to make a quality purchasing decision.
If you throw a sales pitch at them at this point, especially through an informational piece of content, you will lose them. Remember what we said about giving away knowledge for free? Do it now as well.
By placing your audience’s needs above your own and choosing to educate them instead of promoting a product, you will be seen as different from most of your competitors. You can find a way to elegantly and unobtrusively pitch a product. Not all of your CTAs need to be conversion-oriented, nor do you need to have them in every article.
Your top-of-the-funnel audience especially does not want to be sold to. These people are far from the purchasing stage of their journey. Guide them through to it gently. Don’t compromise the objectivity of your content for the sake of a semi-warm sales pitch.
A great example of the kind of content you should be producing is ATH’s post on the top 20 alkaline foods. It is informative, educational, well-written, and packed with useful, scientifically-backed claims. You can walk away from it with a firm understanding of what alkaline foods are and how they impact your body.
The product link at the very end of the article is completely acceptable. There is nothing salesy about it. It’s there if you want to take a look at the item, but there is zero pressure to do so. You are never made to believe there is something you need to spend money on.
Provide first-in-class customer support
How you conduct business and treat your audience will also play a major role in differentiating you from your competitors. Your customers will remember every bad interaction, be it on social media, through your customer service, or via a poorly written article. Every touchpoint matters.
Your customer service team can make or break your brand’s image. If they are helpful and kind, if they know how to listen and can solve issues without aggravating a potentially stressed customer, they’ll improve the way people perceive you enormously.
Besides having an impeccable customer service department, you need to ensure your audience knows about it. Take a look at Pumble and how they can brag about the level of care they provide.
When you consider whether to choose their product or a more famous one, this information will make you pause. You can get help at any time of day or night, in an hour’s time? Why wouldn’t you try this product?
Compare yourself to others
Finally, let’s touch upon the most obvious way to stand out and differentiate your brand from others. Compare yourself to them – honestly, and with nothing to hide.
This tactic will require finesse, as you never want to stack the odds in your favor. Never bash your competition and glorify yourself. You need to be completely honest and explain what it is that really sets you apart.
You will need plenty of data to back it up. You will never be believed without proof, and your plans will backfire.
Jasper AI is a good example of a company that has successfully pulled this off. They’ve compared themselves to some of their main competitors, including Chat GPT. They explain clearly what each product is and how it can be used, and they dive deep into explaining how they are different.
They are not arrogant, and they don’t try to convince you that the other technology is inferior. They simply show why they are better for certain purposes.
If you decide to write this kind of content, make sure that you don’t brag or write a one-sided piece. Tell it how it is and highlight the differences between your brand and the other. Demonstrate how you are able to provide superior results in certain cases.
Wrapping it up
While these eight tactics will work for most brands, some of them will be more successful and easier to implement than others. Before you consider any of them, take a minute to examine what’s likely to resonate the most with your target audience and which of them you can execute best.