In Part 1, we saw that it is necessary to move beyond short-term value propositions to build brand loyalty; specifically, a contextual marketing strategy that uses industry and market drivers and influencers to build brand loyalty is the way to achieve competitive advantage.

We discussed how to create a long-term sustainable alignment for your business and how to create medium-term policy-driven market advantages.

In Part 2, we will describe two more strategies that harness those drivers and influencers.

How to Create Experience-Driven Comparative Advantages

One of the most difficult jobs for marketers is creating truly differentiated customer experiences. Industrial design can be duplicated, but replicating an experience is much tougher. Technology companies have chased the iPod, iPhone, and iPad but can't replicate the intangible unique experience that is Apple. Today, products cannot rely solely on industrial design attributes for competitive advantage.

Companies make the mistake of building an experience around industrial design—rather than building industrial design around the experience. The latter concept is no different from how we live our daily lives. When planning a vacation, we first choose a destination (the experience) and then construct our itinerary around it. Companies must think about the "destination" as the experience for customers, and build brand cues (styling, features) to create that experience.

Choosing the right experiences is crucial because selectivity shapes brand identity without risk of diluting the experience. Steve Jobs believed that the hardest decisions to make in designing products is not determining what a product will do but rather determining what it will not do.

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image of James George

James George is manager of brand strategy and analytics at Toyota Motor Sales, USA. He previously held positions at Toyota in product marketing as well as strategic planning and research for North America.

LinkedIn: James George