Product Differentiation – a wonderful ally to branding
Product differentiation is defined by marketing dictionaries as the process that identifies and displays the differences between products. Also, it finds a single product that attracts buyers through its unique features. In this way, product differentiation creates a competitive advantage by creating a unique and superior product that customers will like best. This product is identified through client service experiences. Customer service is like a sponge that soaks in consumer insights and opinions. While it’s good to come up with an excellent product that the customer has requested, how you present and offer that product is also vital. Thus, client service plays the ultimate role. You can have an amazing, innovative product, but if your client care is not efficient, your product will be left on the shelves of the stores. It’s not necessarily about the differentiated products that you promote; it’s about the positive customer experience difference with your company.
In order to use the product differentiation scheme correctly, you have to be honest about your consumers’ needs. Many companies still try to change customer behavior and work against it when the best thing to do is to work with the client. The best product should be in harmony with the customer’s wishes: typically, adding quality to an inexpensive product. The price is not the only area that can be changed, however. Innovations in design and quality can also be strong features for attracting clients.
A valuable example of product differentiation is the work of Starbucks. Starbucks is the most successful coffee chain in the world, led by CEO Howard Schultz. Starbucks has implemented two main strategies for product differentiation:
- Customized coffee-making
- Additional food partners
Starbucks has won many customers by making coffee on demand. They employ trained baristas who are able to make coffee down to the smallest detail requested by the client. Whatever the type of coffee and whatever the added ingredients you request, Starbucks employees can deliver.
The second strategy of product differentiation is to collaborate with other brands in selling products. They partnered with PepsiCo to sell products outside their store. Additionally, Starbucks bought the Teavana tea company, famous for a variety of tea flavors.
These strategies brought Starbucks more sales but also more customers. By exploring more levels of product differentiation, the company managed to strengthen brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty is a bonus that companies can win through product differentiation. When they receive high-quality products and client service, customers understand there is no substitute on the market for that particular business, so they stick to that company as long as it continues to offer them excellent service.
Consumer decisions are the biggest incentive for businesses. A smart strategy like that of Starbucks answers to customer decisions; in this way the company continues to boost up sales and keep customers pleased. If companies don’t pay attention to client decisions, they can end up in bankruptcy very fast. The buyer’s opinion influences all the layers of business. It changes strategies and it increases brand loyalty. In short, the consumer’s behavior influences the marketing plans of a business and its sales, not the other way around.