When developing a strategy for your brand, it’s easy to get discouraged by the competition in your industry.
There is so much noise in the market, that it can be really difficult to get your brand noticed.
Many branding strategies provide different approaches and potential solutions to this issue, by helping you identify opportunities to build a meaningful and memorable connection with your audience.
At the end of the day, however, the concept of point of difference and point of parity is one of the simplest approaches to branding.
On the one hand, it allows you to learn from your competition by identifying the service standards that your customers expect. On the other, it helps you figure out, what elements of differentiation should be part of your brand and image.
With no further ado, let’s dive into the topic by discussing both concepts.
Points of Parity
Points of parity relate to the elements of your value proposition that compare your brand (or in a broader sense, your product or service) to the competitors in the industry.
A point of parity is a benchmark your brand compares itself to, in order to assess if it is able to withstand the competition in the niche.
What is it that customers expect from your competitors? If you don’t want to disappoint your customers, you can’t fall short of any established expectation which is set by your competitors. These are the points of parity.
Points of parity are a great analysis tool, as they allow you to think about all of the different dimensions of competition your brand will experience.
What are the elements of parity that your brand will compare with in the market?
Will it compete on price? On customer service? On returns policies and shipping?
Before thinking about what makes your brand stand out, it can be much more fruitful to understand what it needs to do to have a chance at competing. By leveling your brand against the highest standards you will achieve much.
Furthermore, if you don’t know or understand the service quality or product quality that your customers have grown to expect, any element of distinction will not actually contribute as successfully to developing your brand.
Great! Now that we’ve clarified what a point of parity is, let’s look into the points of difference.
Points of Difference
If your brand was able to address most of the factors and variables of competition in your niche, then you can start thinking about what can add distinction to your business.
The points of difference are all of those elements that can help your customers identify you and remember you in a busy and noisy market.
Points of difference are much harder to create, as they require a clear vision and understanding of how to increase the value your brand is bringing to the customer while reducing the pain points which are inherent in the customer journey.
Points of difference are both to be considered tangible, as in practical, pragmatic aspects of how your brand operates. At the same time, these elements can be intangible, as in how you make people feel throughout their customer journey or as they approach your brand touchpoint.
If you want to explore this topic, we recommend reading about the Blue Ocean Strategy, which is a framework that can help you understand how to apply the increase\decrease create\eliminate model, to make sure you are taking full advantage of your brand’s differentiation strategy. In this post, we explore the topic in more depth.
There you have it! In this post, we’ve addressed the definition of what points of difference and points of parity are for your brand. Aside from being helpful definitions, these two terms create an interesting and useful framework that can help you identify branding opportunities for your company.
By leveraging the right elements and differentiation, while keeping up the standard of competition in your niche, your brand can soar above the noise and become more meaningful and memorable.
If you’re interested in reading up more information on the topic, we recommend this book: Branding: Brand Identity, Brand Strategy & Brand Development as a useful guide to exploring how to create your brand and differentiate it from the competition.