Best Differentiation Strategy Books by Paul Simister
Making yourself distinct, even unique so that your targeted customers have strong reasons to prefer and choose you rather than any other business is a cornerstone of being successful.
While this page looks specifically at a differentiation based competitive advantage including how it’s communicated to the market, I also have a more general Business Strategy page of book recommendations.
I love this topic, so much I started a separate blog called Differentiate Your Business.
What Happens When Companies Don’t Effectively Differentiate Themselves?
That depends on the balance of supply and demand and who has the bargaining power.
If demand is higher than potential supply, the suppliers are in the strong position and prices and profits increase. Differentiation isn’t important in this situation.
If supply exceeds demand, the buyers have the power and prices go down and costs of service go up, squeezing profit. If the imbalance are large cut-throat price wars can destroy any hope of profits in an industry for years until demand and supply rebalance.
The irony is that while supply shrinks slowly, it has every reason to increase quickly when supply is short. There is money to be made by supplying more and the existing competitors and new market entrants know this. Quickly the industry has over-capacity and prices and profits decline.
The Lowest Cost Alternative
Yes in theory a business with significantly the lowest costs can prosper, even when prices are at rock bottom. However in this globalised world, there is normally someone, somewhere who can make or supply cheaper.
Most of the time there is no alternative. Businesses must be different. Fortunately there are some excellent books that can:
1) help you to be different and develop a differentiation based competitive advantage that may be sustainable for years.
2) help you to communicate your key points of difference to your customers. Being different is no use if either customer don’t know about it or if customers don’t value it.
My clients don’t care if I’m seven feet tall and stand out at networking events. It’s not relevant to anyone who wants my services. As it happens, I’m only six feet four tall but I’ve often been the tallest person in the room.
The Best Books About Differentiation Strategy & Competitive Advantage, Customer Value, USPs & Branding
You will only see the books I’ve rated at Four Stars (meaning good and well worth reading) and Five Stars (excellent and very highly recommended). Reviews of lower rated books appear on Amazon.co.uk but I haven’t brought the reviews across to my own website.
If you read my reviews, you’ll see I try to explain why I like them but also to identify any weaknesses. My job as a reviewer is to help you to find the most appropriate books rather than to help sell more books.
On that note, if you do decide to buy, I’d appreciate it if you could click through to Amazon on my links as (hopefully) I’ll earn a small referral commission.
Some of these books can be very expensive so, if you’re happy with a hard back or paperback book, take a look at the second hand options on Amazon. Personally I only buy if the condition is described as “As New” or “Very Good” unless I’m really keen and forced to drop down to “Good”.
Five Stars Books About Making Your Business Stand Out As Different
Competitive and Corporate Strategy by Cliff Bowman and David Faulkner
Jump Start Your Business Brain by Doug Hall
Competing On Value by Mack Hanan and Peter Karp
Blue Ocean Strategy Expanded Edition by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
Blue Ocean Shift by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
Creating Value by Shiv S Mathur and Alfred Kenyon
The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing by Thomas Nagle and Reed Holden
Competitive Advantage by Michael Porter
Crackerjack Positioning by Don Reynolds
Four Stars Books About Making Your Business Stand Out As Different
Creating and Delivering Your Value Proposition by Barnes, Blake & Pinder
Managing Customer Value by Bradley T Gale
Stop Competing on Price by David Gomes
The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner
Understanding Michael Porter by Joan Magretta
All Business is Show Business by Scott McKain
Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
Chase One Rabbit by David Parrish
Beyond Price by Mary Kay Plantes and Robert D. Finfrock
Business Results Revolution by Sandy Richardson
The 22 Immutable Laws Of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries
Crackerjack Positioning by Ben Settle
Customer Power by David C. Swaddling and Charles Miller
Other Business Book Categories That May Be Of Interest To You
Business Planning – Business Strategy – Business Turnaround – Copywriting – Customer Service – Getting Unstuck – Inner Game – Internet Marketing – KPI & Performance Measurement – Leading Your Team – Marketing – Marketing Psychology – Persuasion – Pricing – Profit Improvement – Retail Business – Sales Training – Specific Niche Markets – Thinking – Understanding Buyers