CONCEPT OF DIFFERENTIATION :
Every individual customer is unique in itself so is his/her preferences regarding tastes, preferences, attitudes, etc. These needs of the customers are fulfilled by the firms by producing differentiated products. In our day-to-day life we see many such examples of differentiated products. Most of the fast moving consumer goods like; biscuits, soaps, toothpastes, oils, etc. come under the category of differentiated products. To satisfy the diverse needs of the customers, it becomes essential for the firms to adopt a differentiation strategy. To make this strategy successful, it is necessary for the firms to do extensive research to study the different needs of the customers. A firm is able to differentiate from its competitors if it is able to position itself uniquely at something that is valuable to buyers. Differentiation can lead to Differential advantage in which the firm gets the premium in the market, which is more than the cost of providing differentiation. The extent to which the differentiation occurs depends on the overall strategy of the firm. Previously differentiation was viewed narrowly by the firms, but in the present scenario it has become one of the essential components of the firm’s strategy. Reliance Infocomm, offers varied products like; different facilities to its customers in the CDMA telephones. This is differentiation.
Projecting an image about a particular product is one form of intangible differentiation. This can be done with the help of packaging, style, etc. This shows that tangible as well as intangible go hand in hand and either of them cannot exist independently. Exhibit-1 shows some tangible and intangible components, which result in differentiation of a particular product.
Its not only the low price at which different products are offered, which creates differentiation, instead the firm can differentiate from its competitors by providing something unique, which is valuable to the customers of that product. Differentiation occurs from the specific activities a firm performs and how they affect the buyer.
Differentiation is normally costly. The differentiation adds costs as it involves added features to cater to the needs of the customers. Usually the cost is incurred in the following cases: