Differentiation allows you to provide superior value to customers at an affordable price, creating a win-win scenario that can boost the overall profitability and viability of your business. Companies have to work on strategies, which would differentiate their products from competitors.
Some of the major dimension through which a company cans differentiation its market offerings are as follows:
(a) Product Differentiation,
(b) Services Differentiation,
(c) Personnel Differentiation,
(d) Channel Differentiation,
(e) Image Differentiation.
Companies such as Hero Honda, Bajaj Auto, and Videocon invest precious resources to develop and then shepherd their new products through the product life cycle. Yet in today’s highly competitive global market place, a product will not survive without some distinct competitive difference that sets it apart from every rival product.
This is why smart companies rely on differentiation, the act of designing a set of meaningful differences to distinguish the company’s offering from competitors’ offerings.
(a) Product Differentiation: Physical products vary in their potential in differentiation. Hindustan Unilever offers several brands of toilet soaps and Proctor & Gamble offers different brands of washing detergents each with a separate brand identity.
(b) Services Differentiation: When the physical product cannot be differentiated easily, the key to competitive success may be achieved by value-addition in services and improving their quality.
The main service differentiators are as follows:
- Ordinary Ease — Customer can place an order at ease.
- Customer Training – Installation and commissioning and training of its operating personnel.
- Installation – Critical capital goods, buyers expect the supplier’s services.
- Customer – Data, Information Systems provided by the consulting supplier.
- Maintenance – Providing maintenance manual and critical and repair spare parts for up keeping machines.
(c) Personnel Differentiation: Companies can gain a strong competitive advantage through having better-trained personnel. Singapore Airlines enjoys an excellent reputation because of its excellent flight attendants. Eureka Forbes is a profitable company because of its well-trained Sales Force provides satisfying services to the customers.
(d) Channel Differentiation: Companies can achieve competitive advantage through the way they design their distribution channel: Coverage, expertise, and performance. In India, Coca-Cola and Pepsi have outsmarted their Indian rivals due to their excellent distribution network through the length and breadth of the Country.
(e) Image Differentiation: Customers respond differently to company and brand images. Identity comprises the ways that a company aims to identify position itself or its product, whereas the image is the way the public perceives the company or its products. Image establishes the product’s character and value proposition. For the image to work, it must be conveyed through every available communication vehicle and brand, contact, including logos, media, and special events.