With 100 million start-ups opening each year, and 1.35 million of them situating in the tech industry (according to Get2Growth), the requirement to 'stand out' has become increasingly important for entrepreneurs in order to succeed amongst an overflowing sea of competitors.
The widespread competition can make it extremely difficult for start-ups to stand out and build a unique yet lucrative brand. Your Story highlighted that this is because they not only have to compete and differentiate from other start-ups but also from larger, successful businesses in the same sector.
What he said - it ain't easy! Nevertheless, with the help of our good friend public relations, I have provided you with 7 simple ways that you can help your start-up differentiate and stand out from your competition.
1. To formulate a leading brand identity
In my last article, 5 Reasons Why Tech Start-ups Fail, I noted that one major reason for start-up failure is down to 'poor marketing and branding'. So alternatively, formulating a leading brand identity will help set you ahead in business and ahead of those pesky competitors.
Entrepreneur states "Before you can tell the world who you are, make sure you know how to answer that question."
When you think about it, it makes complete sense... you must discover who you are as a business and who you want to be, in order to position yourself in the marketplace to
To formulate a winning brand image, you should be asking yourself the following questions:
❓What are our values?
❓What exactly is our company culture?
❓What makes us different from our competitors?
❓Are we doing something that no one else is doing?
❓What makes us uniquely us?
There will always be a reason that a customer chooses to go to you instead of your competitors; maybe you are eco-friendly, or you might have a super catchy slogan that rings in their mind.
Whatever it may be, it is extremely important that you discover what makes your business different - so that you can use your unique selling points and characteristics to attract your target audience.
2. To gain visibility
A great way of standing out among competitors is to simply be more visible; if you are seen and well-known in the industry, you are already shining brighter than your competition.
You can raise awareness of your brand easily and at little to no cost with the use of public relations. One significant tool that comes to mind when I think of the world of PR, is the good old press release...
For those of you who don't know, HowStuffWorks provides a simple definition: "A press release is a short, compelling news story written by a public relations professional and sent to targeted members of the media."
The goal of a press release is to pique the interest of a journalist, with the aim of being published. What better way to gain visibility, than being featured by a leading publication with a huge audience?
3. To connect with your audience
Public relations is a brilliant way of connecting with the audience in an honest and personal way.
You can communicate with them directly and establish a mutual understanding, where you can find out what your audience would like from your business. Oppositely, the audience can find more about you as an entrepreneur.
Building unique relationships with your audience will already help you stand out in the industry. All the while, boosting brand loyalty allowing customers to choose your business every time (not your rivals).
4. To position yourself as an expert
I know for one, I would rather buy from a someone that can be trusted, someone like an expert in the industry...
Not only will positioning yourself as an expert attract a broader audience and differentiate you from your competitors, but it will contribute to building your credibility as an entrepreneur and as a business.
Furthermore, positioning yourself as an expert in your field can attract more opportunities to be featured. CP Communications states that journalists are always looking for experts in a particular field to provide professional comments or quotes for their stories.
Here are a few PR strategies that they recommend to help to position yourself as an expert:
⭐Speak at conferences and events
⭐Actively look for opportunities to provide expert comments in the media
⭐Write a blog
⭐Write an article
5. To monitor your competition
A crucial step to staying ahead of your competition is to know them. After all, how else do you propose on beating your competitors, if you don't even know who they are?
You need to research them, find out who they are and what they stand for. What are they offering? What kind of media coverage are they receiving? How are they promoting their brand?
These are all important questions that you must discover; in doing so, you can familiarise yourself with them and eventually beat them.
An effective method of keeping up to date with your competition is to monitor their media and social media activities through Google Alerts or other media monitoring services. Check out our article, 5 Media Monitoring Tools For Tech Entrepreneurs to find out more.
6. To share testimonials
Another way of promoting your business and standing out amongst competitors is by sharing user testimonials. As an entrepreneur, customer testimonials and positive reviews are increasingly significant, especially for start-up businesses.
Not only does a strong user testimonial increase visibility for your business and reinforce your brand image, but it allows your customers to promote the product for you. Who could be better at persuading the public, other than the public themselves?
Exhibiting customer reviews will give your audience plenty of opportunities to view other consumers experiences with your company, therefore allowing readers to gain trust and respect for your organisation. Meaning that - they will feel more comfortable to buy and invest with you instead of your competition!
7. To occupy their space