What is Differentiation?
Differentiation refers to a way or procedure to distinguish one thing or concept from the other. It may be done by giving the basic definition of the two concepts or objects involved or it may require a more detailed enumeration of specifications of each of the items involved in order to make them “differ” from the other”.
The concept of differentiation may be applied in different fields but can commonly be encountered in the field of business and economics. Differentiation is a basic tool or strategy used by businesses to gain an advantage over competitors in the same product line or field. In today’s business environment, competitors who basically offer the same products and services not only originate in the local or national scene. Many of today’s products and services come from companies that are based in other parts of the world. And because of stiffer competition, companies are forced to launch marketing campaigns to make their own products and services stand out and reach their target consumers.
Differentiation of products for example may be done in several ways. One differentiation is in terms of packaging size. In the case of breakfast cereals for example, most brands may have products that are available in boxes that contain 3 to 5 servings of this particular product. To differentiate one’s product from competition, a company may opt to release smaller boxes containing 1 serving of cereal. This differentiation method could be targeted to people who are always on the go and who want quick meals. Other differentiation methods may be in the form of product flavor variants, packaging colors, product ingredients and enhancements, offering of quicker service, and offering of constant customer support among other ways.
Although most people know that the products and services offered by different companies are basically the same, many still look out for those products/services that stand out from the rest in terms of specifications and other qualities which are made known to them through differentiation methods.