Set Your Business Apart: The Power of Brand Differentiation

by Jill Foster on May 7, 2009

mavin-digital Guest contributor Jessica Valenzuela is the founder and principal of MavinDigital, a 360 degree digital product and marketing company. She is closely associated with Springboard Enterprises and Astia, two exciting organizations that mentor, incubate, and invest in high-growth, women-led companies. Also collaborating regularly with Columbia Univeristy’s Women’s Entrepreneur Network, Jessica can be reached through her blog Mashup and also on Twitter (http://twitter.com/mavindigital).

Happy first day of May and spring showers! I started writing this post the first day in May and I can’t believe we’re now entering the second month of the second quarter – where did April go? This post is meant to be my first guest post for Women Grow Business. I am truly honored to be one of their monthly contributors.

Inspiring client conversation
Writing about the importance of differentiating your company and personal brand inspired me after a conversation with a client. So here goes. We’ve witnessed iconic brands like Microsoft and Apple go at it with their catchy and funny advertising – Microsoft whacks Apple over prices while Apple simply dismisses the attack by focusing on the under performance of Windows PC. Both brands have millions of dollars to spend unlike early stage startups. Differentiating your brand and how it sets you apart from the numerous brand voices is not a simple task regardless of your company size. I thought sharing our experience at Mavin Digital could help spark an idea or two for entrepreneurs.

Like everything else setting your brand apart takes time.
It also takes effort and a whole lot of TLC to the community you serve and are a part of. At Mavin Digital discovery was very much part of defining our brand ethos.

Numerous conversations with clients after a pitch on why they chose to work with us (or not) and counsel with very close friends helped define our key differentiators as an early stage service and media organization.

Here’s how we differentiate our brand:

Genuine engagement
We’re a consultant first before a product or marketing vendor partner. We’re engaged with our clients and prospective clients before the scope of work and beyond the completion of a project or a program. We’ll get up at 7AM or sooner for conference calls and bring pizza to your home office for brainstorming sessions. There are days we’ll even make a 24-hour coast to coast trip so we can speak with you in person to learn more about your idea and challenges around getting your idea off the ground. We’re engaged from the moment we meet.

Macro concepts with micro solutions
Our 360 degree approach helps guide our clients to make the proper decisions for their brand and programs. We help them define the macro concepts or ideas then drill down to the micro solutions. We’re big picture people with an eye for the finite details.

Best of all we love seeing the sparks in your eyes after we share the different options on how we can help shape your idea. Our approach is very collaborative and inclusive.

We love what we do and we do it well.
A client asked me casually over lunch “What do you think of Zappos?” Unknowing that my answer could make or break our engagement I smiled back and exclaimed wildly “Oh i love Zappos!” And so does my client for the same reasons of taking a simple model of shoe selling to the best model for customer service. The key take away here: when your company does what it is expected to do and does it fabulously, regardless of how crowded that space is, you will get noticed — a standard we look up to when creating and delivering products and programs for our clients.

Being a memorable, trusted source
When your brand is memorable and a trusted source, you create a natural stream of opportunities. [image Awesome Sky by C.D. Harrison, Creative Commons].

Clients and friends are more than happy to send leads your way. Then the next brand decision you face is growth, which is always a great problem to have. I will save that story for another post.

I hope you find this helpful or at least inspiring. And I want to hear from you on how you and your team make your brand stand out. What steps do you take?

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