Differentiating Your Brand and Uncovering Consumer Needs

(Contributed to by Briner Sealey)

In this busy world, we like to get from one place to another as quickly as humanly possible. Why stop and smell the roses when there are meetings to attend, conference calls to be had and deadlines to be met? We have become a society that focuses on maximizing productivity, looking ahead to the future instead of living in the present moment. Because of this on-the-go lifestyle, consumer brands can tailor their marketing strategies to fit their target’s needs. But what if we took this insight and instead used it to differentiate from the competition? 

A prime example of this is Sproute, an app designed to create a new way of traveling. Rather than providing the most direct and time-efficient route, Sproute produces a multitude of paths to encourage consumers to value the journey itself. Whether you are bored of your daily commute, or simply interested in seeing some local sights, the app accommodates by providing numerous possibilities. The program started with three options for travel: nighttime, sightseer and commuter. There were limitless opportunities to expand, depending on the user’s preferences. Sproute shows us that modern technology can do more than just boost efficiency; it can also inspire us to enjoy the beautiful world we live in. 

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As brands know, differentiating yourself from the competition is crucial in order to become memorable. In fact, consumers are willing to pay 16% more for a product or service that leverages its differentiation to offer a better consumer experience. By uncovering consumers’ needs, brands can develop marketing strategies to position themselves within their specific category. In Sproute’s case, the navigation app category is dominated by Waze, Google Maps and Apple Maps. These apps may differentiate themselves in small ways, for example, Waze implementing crowd-sourced traffic information, but their goal is still to get people from point A to point B in a timely manner. Sproute, however, saw a clear opening within the category. Even though humans are conditioned to live a busy-bee lifestyle, it doesn’t mean that we don’t also value things like leisure time and adventure. By reimagining the way we view the act of commuting from one place to another, Sproute successfully distinguishes itself from other navigation applications. 

So next time you find yourself at a crossroads on how to set your brand apart from the competition, consider your options. You can choose to inch ahead by focusing on subtle distinctions that consumers may or may not notice, or you can partner with Decibel Blue and derive consumer insights to place you in a category impossible to ignore. 

Tyler Rathjen

Tyler Rathjen is a partner in Decibel Blue, where he leads some of its highest-profile lifestyle clients. Whether developing strategic marketing plans, establishing creative programs, or managing digital, advertising, social media, influencer and branding projects, Tyler has a wealth of communications expertise. Tyler began his career with Decibel Blue in 2006 and has since overseen the launch of more than 120 franchises across the nation, including 80 Dunkin’ Donuts stores.

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