In simple terms, there are three ways to describe your product or service. Sadly, many marketers stop at two.
- What it is (physically)
- What it does (functionally)
But the third descriptor is arguably the most important.
- How it makes you (the customer) feel.
In most cases products will compete with products that are physically similar. There are exceptions of course, like a washing powder versus a washing liquid, but you get the idea.
And from a functional point of view, they will be trying to achieve the same outcome – otherwise, they’re not actually competing.
But it’s the emotional relationship – how you make the customer feel – that provides the greatest opportunity for differentiation.
Think about yourself. You might look or sound different to the next person, but what really differentiates you is your personality – how you make people feel when they’re around you.And brands are no different.
Or, as Clayton Christensen, the father of ‘disruption strategy’ says:
“New products succeed not because of the features and functionality they offer but because of the experiences they enable.”
And that goes for established products and services too.