Our experts discuss the common challenges in-house marketers face when developing and maintaining a clear ‘point of difference’ in their marketing strategy, identifying key differentiators, and driving these through your wider marketing strategy.

In an increasingly competitive landscape, what makes your business stand out from the crowd?

In last week’s workshop, ‘Differentiation in Category - Building Brand Recognition in 2024’, our customer, creative, and branding experts addressed some of the most common challenges to building brand recognition with your USPs in 2024.

To watch the full playback, click here - or, read on for 6 key strategies discussed by the panel when it comes to bringing clear points of difference to life in your marketing.

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Watch the full workshop playback now

ROUND-UP: 6 ways to drive differentiation through your marketing strategy

1. Understand the perceived value of your brand identity with your audience

As Lauren Castagni Mote, Senior Head of Insight & Strategy, Enjoy Digital, shares, "Ask yourself, does my brand have a perceived value in the eyes of my target audience? And does that make your product or service more appealing compared to the others available in the market? 

This could cover things like specific functionalities, technology design (think Apple with their ecosystem and the seamless integration they offer).

It could be your brand image and the brand itself. Do you have a good reputation, strong values, heritage, and does that create an emotional connection?"

2. Driving clear points of difference throughout the customer experience

Ranzie Anthony, CEO of Athlon, highlights the importance of backing up any external ‘differentiators’ with a tangible advantage within the product.

“I think that marketing can traditionally be tempted to focus on broadcasting your brand message. However, what we now see is increasingly that brand-building is linked to customer experience and value

That typically means some form of digital experience in today's modern world, so it's important to holistically think about that customer journey, and map all of those different brand touch points. Because ultimately, people are looking for not only what you say, but what you deliver and how they will experience it. 

Now, an awful lot of what we do when we're trying to find that differentiation is looking at mapping that end-to-end brand touchpoint.” 

3. Differentiate yourself against the market leaders, rather than ‘catching up’

Steve Stokes, Co-Founder & Planning Partner at Dog Cat & Mouse, shares that We take this view that most brands aren't market leaders, and if you follow the market leader, and you just become a “me too”, you're not going to stand out. 

We think that the best brands differentiate by challenging what's wrong with the category so they're fixing it in some way. By taking this approach, it gives your brand far more opportunities to stand out to consumers. 

In-house teams can lost sight of this over time, perhaps they had it when the organisation first started, but they've sort of then drifted towards the centre ground. 

So, sometimes what they need to do is rediscover what they were originally set out for in the beginning.” 

4. Differentiating your brand through your purpose

Helen Hudson, Co-Founder & Managing Director at HUB discusses the importance of purpose as a differentiator in your brand.

“A process of brand discovery and brand psychology allows you to bring your truth as a brand out to your consumers in a simple and easy-to-understand way.

I think a really good example of this type of brand marketing is the cleaning brand smol. They completely challenge the cleaning sector in terms of being completely green, completely recycled - what these differentiators mean for the consumer is that you feel really good about yourself when you're using their products.

By highlighting a few of these purpose-driven messages in their marketing, consumers are more likely to refer them to friends, because it adds to the wider customer experience. 

So it's that really looking for the truth of the brand, really looking for what your consumers and consumers, in general, are looking for now, and how you can resonate with that and differentiate yourself against the mass competition."

Smol have taken on an almost entirely purpose-driven point of difference across their brand strategy since their inception.
smol have taken on an almost entirely purpose-driven point of difference across their brand strategy since their inception.

5. Compare and combine ‘The 7 P’s’ to create more powerful brand recognition

Whilst you need to be wary of ‘USP overload’, Dom Roe, Head of Planning at Recipe shares the value of compounding a few of the famous ‘7 P’s of marketing’ to create a more unique approach.

“There are so many areas to hone in on when it comes to product differentiation.

Is it a price thing that differentiates you? 

Is it the product itself? Is it the process? 

Is it the people, is it the place, the distribution?

It could be any of those things, but often the great brands can differentiate across a few of them. 

A favourite from the ad industry is always Guinness, because the ads were fantastic, but that's a perfect example of a differentiation from a product perspective, a differentiation from a process perspective, and a steadfast commitment to differentiation from a communications perspective as well.

By doing this, Guinness have woven in three different areas that really make them different, distinctive, and unique.”

6. Invest in what your brand does best - and look inward

Finally, Ben Marshall, Creative Director at Jaywing, shares the risk of being overwhelmed in a more competitive landscape.

“Broadly, there's a proliferation of channels, choice of messaging, and the market is more saturated. Years ago, if you asked someone on the street to name eight banks, they would probably struggle -  now, there is an endless number there. 

Everything is more complex, everything's richer. So getting that share of mind is what will carry you through.

You've got to go back and have a look at the problem as hard as you can, look at the landscape, and actually analyse your approach. If you don't, you're just coming out to the noise.

If you're lucky enough to have a genuinely unique product or service, differentiation in the truest sense of the word, then you're laughing.”


If you're investing in your brand identity or brand strategy for the new year, make sure you're getting the most from your time. GO! offer cost-free agency recommendations, pitch management, and more - get in touch to get started.