There’s one big question you’ve probably come across when building your business.
Whether it’s in blog posts you’ve read, workbooks you’ve downloaded, conversations with friends, or a question you’ve asked yourself - you’ve seen this question over and over.
What makes your brand different from others?
For many business owners, this question feels impossible to answer.
You might think ‘my competitors have niches, more experience, witty messaging, and gorgeous branding…what makes my service-based business stand out?’
But you have something those other businesses don’t have.
You have your own unique magic.
The key is harnessing it through in-depth brand strategy, competitor research, and internal reflection to discover your brand’s differentiator.
Your differentiators are those *things*. They’re the unique factors that come together to make you stand out in a saturated market, guide your messaging, and help you resonate with your audience.
Need some help discovering what that *thing* is for your brand?
Then keep reading for my 4 ways to differentiate your service-based business.
Your dream clients have specific challenges they need guidance overcoming.
They want clear, easy direction in solving their problems and confidence in who they’re working with and the process they’re undertaking.
After all, that’s why they’re seeking a service-based business (like you!) to support them.
So one way to differentiate your brand is to hone in on your process and think about how you can neatly package your services to suit the needs of your clients.
This could look like building out a proprietary approach rooted in your beliefs, values, and experience, transforming your process into a repeatable method, or polishing the steps you already take when serving your clients.
You don’t need to start from scratch and create a brand-new framework out of thin air.
Instead, take a look at what you already do and pull out key steps that guide your work. Then, focus your messaging on those steps to develop a clear differentiator between you and others in your industry.
Want to see an example in action?
The Village is a boutique marketing agency for conscious hospitality and wellness brands craving deeper connections with their customers.
Together, we developed their signature 3-tiered Balanced Method proprietary that combines marketing strategy, customer experience, and community building to create holistic and sustainable marketing solutions.
This repeatable framework helps them stand out from their competitors and sticks in the minds of their clients.
Your core brand values not only reflect what you’re passionate about and guide your business direction, but they’re also critical to connecting with your ideal type of clients.
As consumers, when we see pieces of ourselves in other brands, we’re drawn to them - whether it's a value we cherish, an experience we've shared, a story we identify with, or a belief we hold.
At the end of the day, we want to champion and support brands whose values align with our own.
By being vocal about what your brand cares about, you’ll differentiate yourself from other brands. And by illustrating your commitment to your values, you’ll connect with like-minded clients.
SAMARA, a luxury fashion brand is a great example of using its beliefs and commitments to stand out.
Founded on values of sustainability and elegance, SAMARA creates minimalistic bags made from eco-friendly materials and donates a portion of its profits to The Soular Backpack, an initiative in East Africa that provides solar lights to children.
By highlighting its values and its commitment to those values, SAMARA resonates with clients who want to champion sustainability and social responsibility.
As a designer, I obviously want you to consider your own signature style as a way to differentiate your business from other service-based businesses.
Do you convey a distinct look, mood, or emotion in your branding, design, and client experience? Is it different from common trends you see in your industry?
Are there specific types of clients drawn to your style because it resonates deeply with them?
Even if your services or client experience are similar to your competitors, your unique flavour can attract clients who are seeking something out of the ordinary.
This is exactly what we did for one of our past clients, In Velvet.
As an executive assistant for creative entrepreneurs, In Velvet wanted to stand out from the typical black-and-white styles she had seen among online business managers.
Instead, we created a retro, funky, and elevated design direction that differentiated her business from others while still resonating with the out-of-the-box creatives she wanted to work with.
At the end of the day, the main differentiator between your service-based business and others is you.
Your heart, your soul, your personality…everything that makes up who you are is a part of your service-based business.
Those factors dictate how you communicate, the beliefs you share, and the unique perspective you have.
By regularly communicating your personality through your messaging, photography, branding, and approach, you establish your brand as personal and one-of-a-kind.
Then, not only do you become part of your client’s circle, but you become their go-to choice because they know you and trust you.
One easy way to showcase your personality?
Communicate your ‘hot takes’ or ‘unpopular opinions’ to share how you envision the future of your industry.
In no time at all, you’ll connect with others who view the world the same way as you.
Discovering your differentiator is only one part of helping your service-based business stand out in a saturated market and experience incomparable growth.
And it’s only one module in my six-module course, The One, designed to help you overcome mindset struggles, get a better understanding of your community, and boldly position your business as the go-to choice for your clients.
If you’re ready for this kind of support then sign up for The One waitlist today!
Principal, Honey & Co.
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