Marketing Image differentiation competitive advantage

13 March 2007 Image Differentiation and Competitive Advantage It is irrefutable that business organizations are increasingly marketing their products more efficiently in order to pursue their quest of achieving higher market share and profits. According to Porter, differentiation is one of the winning strategies in the market which a company can utilize in order to compete with other players (Generic Strategies 1). With the evolution of a hypercompetitive environment, marketers have differentiated themselves through the use of product, services, personnel, and image differentiation tools.
Image differentiation refers to the company’s effort of identifying itself from its competitors by creating a unique image in the minds of its customers (Generic Strategies 1). It should be noted that in this type of differentiation strategy, the product is not tangibly different from its competitors. The marketer’s primary function, then, is the addition of intangible features which would enhance the image and position of the product in the market.
Tangible differentiation is much more apparent and easily identified than intangible ones. In case of toothbrushes, Colgate and Oral B are tangibly different. Oral B toothbrushes are distinctive because of the red dye in the center bristles which fades and tells customers when they need a new toothbrush. On the other hand, Colgate offers its revolutionary toothbrush that focuses on overall hygiene with its tongue cleaner.
Intangible differentiation can best seen in the laptop market. It should be noted that some notebooks offered by Hewlett-Packard and Apple Computers are the same in terms of memory, connectivity, battery life, etc. However, customers are willing to pay a premium for a Mac because it is marketed as an upscale product while HP is for the mass market. The price of the notebooks together with their images in the market succeeds in creating intangible differences for the product.
Extreme examples of the two products which are tangibly the same but are differentiated in the market are Toyota Corolla and Chevy Prizm. Between the two, Corolla commands a higher price, $3500 more than a Prizm even though they are the same-nut for nut and bolt for bolt. However, most customers prefer to own a Corolla than a Chevy because its image in the market. While Prizm has always been regarded as a low-end car, Corolla has markets itself as a more elegant alternative. Toyota is also reputed to be a maker of cars which are better, safer, and lasts longer.
Image differentiation is a potent tool which can be used by the marketer in order to curb competition from its rivals. The positioning can be enhanced through intangible differences which are largely emphasized through different advertising techniques.
Works Cited
"Generic Strategies." MarketingTeacher.com. 2007. March 13, 2007 "Toyota." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 12 March 2007. March 13, 2007