In today’s marketing world, every small business seeks to stand out among a myriad of competitors. Because United States consumers have so many choices, businesses who fail to differentiate themselves from the competition struggle to survive. However, an effective differentiating strategy can help a small business not only to live, but also to thrive in the marketplace. Marketing experts Jack Trout and Steven Rivkin combine their genius to describe practical concepts on business differentiation. From their extensive knowledge, a small business executive can glean three valuable differentiating strategies which help a small business to secure a competitive advantage over the competition. A small, gourmet supermarket chain in Ohio called Dorothy Lane Market will practically illustrate these concepts. Authors Trout and Rivkin share that a wise small business can accomplish brand differentiation by owning a heritage, a uniquely processed product, or a brand attribute.
Owning a Heritage
The presence of a business heritage provides a business with a differentiating strategy. Trout and Rivkin confirm that a long and successful past leads consumers to believe that the business must being doing something right; the company must be producing a reputable and dependable product or service that is providing for the needs of its customers (2008, p. 125). Owning the differentiating strategy of business heritage powerfully creates a positive image of confidence in the minds of consumers. Authors Trout and Rivkin describe two specific types of heritage that a business could own to differentiate itself.
Locational heritage claims an association with a country which is already well-known for making a specific product. For example, Japan is known for its quality automobiles; America is known for its advanced airplanes; and France is known for its premiere cheeses and wines (Trout and Rivkin, 2008, p. 131). A business demonstrates this type of heritage when it produces a product from a country which is famous for making that same product. The product’s famous origin is the key to differentiation. Dorothy Lane Market (DLM) exhibits a form of this concept. Although Dorothy Lane does not directly produce the products from other countries, it does make use of the product’s famous origin to differentiate itself in the marketplace. Taking advantage of other countries’ renowned products, DLM offers these specialty foods its gourmet supermarket—such products as cheeses from France, Britain, and Italy and wines from abroad (DorothyLane.com). The fact that DLM offers these specialty products from other countries gives DLM a point of difference to claim between itself and its competitors.
Family heritage describes a personal commitment to the company’s products and to the customers. Trout and Rivkin discuss two ideas related to family heritage. First, people often view family owned companies as focusing more energy into the quality...