Thoughts after Reading: Different - Part Two

Previously, we talked about how companies get more and more similar while they try to differentiate themselves. So the question is, how can they differentiate themselves?

Professor Moon highlights three ways that work:

1) Reverse Positioning

Here, old expectations are stripped away. forcing their consumers to rethink the category. Instead of adding more and more new features, features are removed until a minimalistic version emerges. This sometimes comes as a relief to consumers who have become jaded with the endless parades of "exciting" new features from other companies

For example, Company A produces printers. Instead of giving new models with the ability to fax and scan and connect via Bluetooth and WiFi, they produce a cheap, powerful version that can print quickly and well but without any other features than its printing ability. Consumers who are looking for a simple, economical yet efficient printer will be pleased to know that they don't have to pay for features that they know they will never use.

2) Breakaway Positioning

Here, the company straddles categories. Instead of being part of a particular category, it is positioned as a member of another. This redefines its competition and the expectations that consumers will have of its product.

For example, Company B found a way to miniaturise mobile powerbanks. Instead of marketing it as the smallest-ever powerbanks and having to compete in that category, they add speaker parts to one version, selling it as a miniature speaker with an unusually high battery capacity. In another version, they add projector parts and turn it into a miniature presentation projector that is portable and can last for hours with a single charge. In yet another version, they connect a few and make a lightweight, durable battery for laptops.

In each manifestation, they use the same technology to produce products of different categories, marketing each one in its new category.

3) Stealth Positioning

Here, instead of minimising what may be perceived as weaknesses, the company positions them as strengths instead, often coming up with a quirky product that nevertheless gains acceptance and, eventually, fans.

For example, let's say Company C makes mobile phones that function a little slower than most others in the market. Instead of upgrading their hardware or software, or downplaying the weakness by focusing on other strengths, they highlight the lag by coming up with a new marketing angle and feature - "Have you ever regretted pressing "Send" the moment you did? Now, with Company C's mobile phone, you have 3 seconds to decide to cancel that text before it goes out!" As a bonus feature, they may even add an easy-access button that turns your phone to flight mode instantly, facilitating your cancelling of the text.

Professor Moon gives great examples of successful companies who have used the abovementioned strategies. The examples given are my own, out of my understanding of each method. 

The book has caused me to see marketing in a new way, highlighting how creative solutions can produce fantastic results. I highly recommend it.