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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

How to Create a Million Dollar Unique Selling Proposition by Bill Bodri

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 PlanningBusiness StrategyBusiness TurnaroundCopywritingCustomer ServiceGetting UnstuckInner GameInternet MarketingKPI & Performance MeasurementLeading Your TeamMarketingMarketing PsychologyPersuasionPricingProfit ImprovementRetail BusinessSales TrainingSpecific Niche MarketsThinkingUnderstanding Buyers

Paul Simister is a business coach who helps business owners who are stuck, get unstuck. If your business is based in the UK, you can have a free Business SOS consultation with me to help you get unstuck.

Get to Aha! by Andy Cunningham

Stop Competing on Price by David Gomez

Blue Ocean Shift by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Chase One Rabbit by David Parrish

All Business is Show Business by Scott McKain

Managing Customer Value by Bradley T Gale

The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner

Beyond Price by Mary Kay Plantes and Robert D. Finfrock