Brands are all about differentiation. Whether one talks about a brand promising a relevant differentiated benefit or a brand's unique value proposition, it is all about differentiation.
But, how is the brand differentiating itself? Is it touting unique attributes or features?
- This is the only fully electric car with a four hundred mile range on a single charge.
- This is the only high school in the metropolitan area that is ranked among the top 100 schools in the US.
- This is the only television channel dedicated to showing only classic movies.
Or perhaps your brand talks about functional benefits.
- This is the only golf shoe guaranteed to keep your feet dry in wet conditions.
- This is the only hiking boot that is guaranteed to last for your lifetime.
- This is the only spot remover guaranteed to remove tough mustard stains.
Or perhaps it talks about emotional or experiential benefits:
- Enjoy the freedom of the open road with our motorcycle.
- Feel the euphoria that comes with our rave.
- Savor the gooey sweetness of our candy bar.
Or perhaps it is a self-expressive benefit.
- Everyone will know you have arrived when you drive our car.
- Attending our university screams "He's a genius."
- Everyone will know that you care about the environment if you use our products.
Or perhaps your brand shares strong values with its customers:
- We believe in conservative values.
- We really care about the environment.
- We love dogs.
Notice how the quality of the messages change as one moves from attributes and features to functional benefits to emotional and experiential benefits to self-expressive benefits to shared values. Which do you think are the most compelling? Which do you think evoke the strongest positive emotions? Which create the strongest emotional connections? Which create the most passion? Which result in the most loyalty? Which are most likely to create brand advocates?
As a marketer, when you listen to a brand's message, determine what its unique value proposition is and further, figure out whether it is focusing on attributes, benefits or values. Finally, compare that to how powerful or compelling the message seems to be.