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20+ Product Differentiation Examples

        posted by , June 09, 2013

What's Product Differentiation?

Product differentiation is how a product or service stands out in the eyes of customers.

Why is Product Differentiation Important?

Product differentiation is why a customer buys your product. If you go to the coffee isle of your local supermarket you may find 10 brands of coffee. Each brand has worked hard to make itself stand out so that you'll choose it.

Product differentiation is the primary goal of marketing. It's why companies advertise. It's why they invest huge sums of money to develop unique products. It's why one business thrives while another struggles.

Essential Product Differentiation Techniques

A product or service can be differentiated on the basis of performance, features, brand symbols, social factors, timing, location, quality, experience and price.

  1. Performance - Your product outperforms the competition.

  2. Features - Your product has unique features.

  3. Anti-Features - Your product lacks unpopular features.

  4. Brand Symbols - Symbols such as brand name, logo, graphics, slogans.

  5. Social Proof - People see your product as trustworthy or trendy because their friends recommended it.

  6. Timing - Your product stands out because it's in front of the customer when they need it.

  7. Location - Your product is in the right place.

  8. Quality - Your product has higher or lower quality than your competitors.

  9. Risk - Your product has higher or lower risks than your competitors.

  10. Experience - Your product provides a unique experience.

  11. Price - Your product has a higher or lower price than your competitors.

Examples of Product Differentiation

Companies are fairly imaginative when it comes to differentiating their products. The following examples just scratch the surface.

  • Safety - An airline has a better reputation for safety than its competitors.

  • Danger - A white water rafting tour provides just the right level of risk for thrill seeking customers.

  • Expensive - A brand of cosmetics is seen as a status symbol because of its quality and price.

  • Cheap- An electronics manufacturer releases a product with similar features to a popular product but at a lower price.

  • Sustainable - A ground breaking energy efficient model of car is sold out for 22 months after its launch.

  • Ethical - A clothing brand stands out from its competition for its ethical business practices (e.g. a fair deal for all workers in its supply chain).

  • Usable - A social network gains popularity because its interface is easy to use.

  • Social - A brand of tablet computer has enthusiastic fans who tell their friends to buy one.

  • Right place - A luxury hotel is the only hotel located on a popular beach on a South Pacific island.

  • Right time - Customers know that a 7/24 grocery store is always open.

  • Experience - A chain of coffee shops provides a unique experience and has friendly staff.

  • Brand image - An advertising campaign gives a restaurant a tasty image.

  • Salty - A brand of potato chips is saltier than the competition.

  • Healthy - A brand of frozen dinners uses all natural, organic ingredients.

  • Celebrity status - A brand of cosmetics gains celebrity status when it becomes popular amongst well known celebrities.

  • High quality - A brand of electronics is known for its durable, reliable products.

  • Speed - An airline that avoids long lines with prompt efficient service.

  • Cute - A Japanese candy product stands out for its cute packaging and mascot.

  • Reputation - A private bank stands out for its reputation for investment results.

  • Origin - French champagne stands out on the shelves in Tokyo.

  • Effectiveness - A swinging and rocking baby seat product is known for it's ability to convince babies to sleep.

  • Results - A sports franchise becomes popular after a winning season.

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