We spend much of our lives working with brands of all shapes and sizes across almost every conceivable category to define their differentiated brand proposition and design a rich and unique visual language to position their businesses for success. Occasionally we come across brands who have their differentiated proposition ‘baked-in’ to their products or services (think iPhone’s touch screen and useability / think Webflix DVDs through the mail) – what it is that is unique about them is inherent in what they do or sell. Without doubt, these brands have a distinct advantage over their competitors.
For businesses looking for a handle on how to build a brand with the differentiated proposition baked-in, an often overlooked starting point is design.
One of my favorite examples of such a brand is Japanese paper ware manufacturer Wasara. Elevating the humble paper tableware category with the power of design alone – Wasara’s brand proposition is based around challenging the paper plate paradigm with one simple question: Why can’t paper plates be beautiful?
Paper Ware for Spiritual Enrichment
Wasara’s positioning line of ‘Paper Ware for Spiritual Enrichment’ doesn’t so-much set the tone for the brand as reflect the product beautifully. In their own words, Wasara believe ‘Holding a plate in your hands; its form, texture and ease of use can make the heart skip’. Underlying the Wasara design concept is hundreds of years of Japanese aesthetic and sublime attention to detail.
Eco-Friendly & Beautiful
‘As is the fate of all paper tableware, a Wasara can serve its purpose only once. Yet it is designed to minimize environmental waste.’ Wasara products are made from non-wood materials such as reed, bamboo and baggasse (sugarcane waste) – materials with no danger of depletion.
Differentiated by Design
Whether you are a manufacturer, retailer, food producer, or even a professional services firm, the design of your product provides the real potential for you to create a differentiating and distinctive advantage over your competitors.
• Consider the businesses with whom you compete for customers.
• How many of them have a distinct advantage built right into their product or service?
• How many of your competitors have re-designed their products or services to be as distinctive in the market as Wasara have with their paper tableware?
• If the answer for your business is ‘None’ you’re facing a great opportunity to reposition your business and gain marketshare.
• If the answer ‘Our competition’s already doing this’, you’ve just identified what you need to do to compete with your market’s leaders.
If you’d like some help with getting your head around how you can best leverage design to create competitive advantage for your brand, why not get in touch – we’d love to help you on your way.
David Ansett, Brandamentalist
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Designer of Brand Differentiation