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5 steps to stand out from the competition

The fashion industry is very competitive: every day, new brands emerge and try to make a name for themselves within this vast ecosystem. To differentiate yourself from the brand next door, you need to highlight your singularity and make your brand truly unique. Discover the 5 steps to take to stand out from the competition. 

Step 1: Have a clear brand positioning

Your brand positioning is the cornerstone of your (business) differentiation. 

This positioning consists in placing yourself in the ecosystem in which you evolve. For example, if your brand is eco-responsible and your products are organic cotton T-shirts, you will first position yourself in the eco-responsible fashion industry, and then in front of other brands that produce organic cotton T-shirts.

The whole point of this positioning is to identify the elements that distinguish you from the other brands in your field of activity so as to highlight them and make you stand out. 

What elements should be analyzed? I invite you to start by looking at the following three elements: the why, how and what.

#Why – The story behind your brand is the key to your success. People don’t purchase your products but the story behind them. What is your why? What are your beliefs, your values? What inspires you on a daily basis? The why is linked to emotions, to your personal story. The why is a powerful element of storytelling that you need to dig into to create a unique bond with your ideal client and to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

#How – Examine your creation, production and marketing chain. What makes you so unique from your competitors? It can be the choice of an ultra local production or the fact of calling upon independent and different stylists for each new collection. 

#What – Lastly, take a closer look at your products. How do they differ from those of your competitors? Is it because you use an innovative material or offer a wider range of colors? Look for that “something extra” that will tip the balance in your favor at the time of purchase, between two products that are similar at first glance.

Step 2: Define your unique value proposition

Once you have established your brand positioning, it’s time to look at your unique value proposition. 

The unique value proposition is the promise of what your brand and products provide your ideal customer. Your brand should provide a specific solution to a specific problem of your ideal customer. Meeting a specific need is the reason a customer will more likely be drawn to your products instead of those of your competitors. 

To learn more about the unique value proposition, I invite you to read my full article on the subject: how to create a unique value proposition for your business?

Step 3: Create a unique visual identity to stand out from the competition

The visual identity is the reflection of your positioning and your brand universe. It is essential to clarify your fundamentals (ideal customer, purpose, sales promise, values…) before creating it. 

It is an essential element of your uniqueness: your logo, color palette, typography… are all elements that identify you and make you recognizable among all other brands. A good visual identity is a brand that can be recognized at a (single) glance.

To create a coherent and effective visual identity, I strongly recommend you to call on experts: being a graphic designer is not improvised! To learn more, I invite you to read my experience with Natch Studio..

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Step 4: Develop your own tone

Tone is often overlooked in favor of visual identity. However, the tone you will use in your communication is just as important to set yourself apart from the crowd.

The way you address your ideal client is part of your personality. In the same way as character traits are for an individual, your brand has a personality of its own that is important to cultivate in order to stand out from the competition. 

A brand that uses “formal” language for its customers does not have the same positioning as a brand that uses “informal” language for its customers. A more casual tone, humor, puns and play on words are all hallmarks of a friendly brand. 

It’s up to you to find the tone that best suits your brand and that will identify you directly with your ideal target.

Step 5: Take care of your customer experience

The final step in differentiating yourself from your competitors is to provide a memorable experience for your customers.

A happy customer is a loyal customer. And it’s not just a bad experience at a competitor’s store that will make a customer buy from you. It is also and above all the care you put into pampering your customers and adding little touches throughout the customer journey that makes all the difference.

It can be a little note from you in their parcel, an advantageous loyalty program, quick and complete answers to all their questions on social networks… There are a thousand and one ideas to put in place to take care of your customer experience and encourage your customer to buy from you and not from your competitor. 

These “small” actions are a real acquisition lever because they allow you to create a unique link with your customer and to make the difference.

As you can see, differentiation is not only about more innovative products or a more striking visual identity. In fact, it is a set of elements that will allow your brand to stand out from its competitors. Remember that your brand is unique and that it is in your power to value this uniqueness to impose yourself on your market.

Céline Gainsburg-Rey

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