What mechanism truly differentiates your business? What Audi and Volvo have taught me

Photography Differentiation 2.jpg

It's extremely difficult to be unique in any market today, in fact, the vast majority of markets are saturated by suppliers. Of course, competition is a good thing, however, it can lead to price wars, decreasing profits and inevitably, reduced quality. Whether you're in the professional services industry, manufacturing or even something like photography, there will be cheaper suppliers and more expensive suppliers. That’s just the way it is.

To avoid facing these issues you need to differentiate your business from competitors. You need to stand out. Customers need a reason to choose you other than price. The real question is, how do you differentiate your business and offering from those around you?

Comparing Apples with Apples

Let's take a quick look at some technology businesses, which I hope everyone will be able to relate to.

How do you differentiate between the below businesses?

  1. Apple v Microsoft - when both make Operating Systems and Software

  2. Microsoft v Sony - when both make Games Consoles

  3. Sony v Canon - when both make Cameras

  4. Canon v Samsung - when both make Printers

  5. Samsung v Apple - when both make Smartphones (and we’ve come full circle there!)

These are all global businesses; huge brands. It's true that many technology businesses have a diversified service or product range. We've all owned one or more of their products in the past, and I'm sure you'll agree with me, you have a slightly different perception of each.

But it's not the sheer range of products that they make the differentiates them from each other. It's unlikely you prefer Apple over Samsung (or vice versa) because of the range of products that they offer. No, you'll prefer one over the other because of the branding. The iPhone has been copied by many Chinese smartphone manufacturers, which sell their products significantly cheaper, but there's only one iPhone.

Quality, design, customer service, flexibility, compatibility, durability; the list goes on. These are all things you may consider when comparing different brands.

Ultimately, you'll feel more loyalty or affinity with some over others, but why?

Photography and Branding in action

Let's look at this another way. Take these two automotive adverts as a prime example:

Audi - advertising to your head

Audi - advertising to your head

Volvo - advertising to your heart

Volvo - advertising to your heart

Volvo and Audi are both premium car manufacturers who both have access to the same talent pool of engineers and designers, and are equally competent in the manufacture and production of their vehicles.

However, one will speak to you more than the other (the use of photography is key here):

  1. The Audi photo focuses on features. The phrase “Now is calling” is conveying a strong, modern, technology based feeling. Near water but still in an urban environment of some sort, Audi show an everyday scene. No people here either - the car is very much the focus of this image. Audi are appealing to your head.

  2. The Volvo photo is all about benefits; conveying a message about the adventure and great outdoors. Perhaps even a message about getting away from it all into the isolation of the mountains. Showing people in the shot allows the viewer to imagine themselves in that location. The car is secondary in this image. Volvo are appealing to your heart.

One will appeal to you more than the other. Both products are ultimately all wheel drive SUVs, both are very safe cars and both have the latest tech to keep you entertained on your journey. Both will often be seen circling the M25.

The difference is branding, or rather, the messaging. They speak to different kinds of people. They know what emotions they want to target and go after them in a very clear way.

Messaging and Photography that sets you apart

So the key to differentiation is your messaging, not necessarily your product or service. The nuts and bolts of your business, product and service can be comparable to your competitors around you, but it's how you talk about it that separates you.

The words you write and the images you use are crucial. Communications need to be carefully crafted not only in how they read, but also how they appear visually to resonate with your target audience. Keep in mind though, that people are increasingly visual - use that to your advantage.

You can say something different about your business, but if you really want to stand out you need to show people why you're different.

Look back at that Volvo image for a moment. That one photo could say so many different things. It takes messaging to the next level because the photographer knew it would stir up the imagination of the viewer.

It tells a story, without the use of words.

That's when messaging really wins.

That's the real difference.  

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To learn more about how commercial photography can differentiate you business register for my free guide here: https://www.thomaslowephotography.com/how-to-differentiate-my-business/

To find out more about my photography and how I can help you, please contact me on either info@thomaslowephotography.com, call 07305 808 716 or visit my website www.thomaslowephotography.com.