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ART of Entrepreneurship – Differentiating your Brand

In the world of entrepreneurship, ideas are only the beginning and execution is only the medium to creating a brand. Brands often take years to be recognized regardless of how much money you spend. It can take more than 20 years for a brand to become  a household name, sometimes even generations pass before people notice a new brand or product. Ultimately some brands never become recognized and either live in the shadows of the bigger players in the same field or disappear as a failed brand/business but ultimately what is it that makes a brand become what its owner envisioned it to once be?

When creating a brand, one must take in consideration that society has probably already seen one or several forms of such product fromseveral other brands exist which promise the exact same thing. This makes it difficult for you as branding often is differentiated through time and those that were here before you have in most cases been here longer.

There is however a different twist for Generation Y entrepreneurs who seem to have found different ways to get noticed much quicker than past brands and therefore often overtake existing brands with force and speed, making themselves a household name in less than 5 years but also making sure they never have to work again. That twist is differentiation and its almost dominant in every new business that comes up these days.

What is brand differentiation?

Well, its simpler than you think and more common than you have seen. Brand differentiation is when someone takes an existing concept, product or brand and expands upon its capacity by slightly tweaking it. A famous example of this would be Facebook as it compares to MySpace but not in the context you might think of. The differentiators here was not the improvement of the social media experience but rather its target audience. One was geared to musicians, and the other to students. There are more students than musicians therefore there was a major opportunity for Facebook to take a huge market share in a very short time frame.

Differentiation is often necessary to succeed as an entrepreneur as the same concept created two years later simply doesn’t work, and there are many clear examples of that with all those other social media networks that are appearing but simply not taking you away from Facebook. If we think about another example that has been successful, one can reference LinkedIn which takes the social media experience to a work friendly level and helps create a network rather than entertainment. The concept once again remains the same but the differentiator once again is the target audience.

When creating a brand, you must be very careful of not copying a concept without a clear differentiator or people will find no value in starting new when the existing product delivers the exact same to the same people. Many business owners forget to take in consideration the fact that the general public loves new concepts and ideas, which is how we’ve gotten so far but it is also resistant to change unless a drastic benefit or perception of benefit exists.

As you think about your business and your brand, what will your differentiators be?