Mobile and tablet accessories are not only seen as necessities but also have become fashion statements to some degree. With this has come an influx of mobile accessory manufacturers offering solutions such as protective cases, headphones, speakers and power banks for the latest mobile devices. As a result it is extremely important for accessory brands to differentiate themselves from the competition. When you’re a global operation it is crucial to understand the cultural differences between each country and what the key drivers and desires are for the various consumers within each market. So it is important for brands to understand the markets they are present in to ensure the targeting is accurate. For example, in the Nordics and Northern Europe consumers are less concerned about price and the focus is more on owning a high quality product, while in Southern and Eastern Europe consumers are extremely cost conscious. Therefore adapting how products are positioned in these countries to make them appeal to both the retailers and consumers is paramount when ensuring a brand stands out from its competition. This will avoid the possibility of the brand being ignored in a particular market due to not meeting the desired needs. A noticeable growth in the accessory field has been in the power category, which has become extremely competitive in the last 24 months. This is due to consumers becoming more mobile, travelling regularly and being outside of the home ? this creates demand for emergency back-up power. When faced with a growing trend like this it is crucial to make sure a brand is distinguishable from its competition so that it stands out above the rest. This may be achieved through having the most affordable price point. Pricing is a decisive and critical factor, it is important to truly understand the different consumer needs and to meet them effectively. By not understanding and researching the marketplace businesses risk positioning product at the wrong price point for that particular consumer base. Taking the time and resources to complete comprehensive market research is also very important when differentiating a brand ? listen to what the audience likes, what they think works and most importantly the elements they?re not happy with. By adapting solutions based on the results of end user research can help to develop a much more appealing product. Accessory brands must target a wide range of consumers with different needs and desires. This can be achieved developing a diverse product range, offering varying price points and targeting different demographics. All of these factors will give a brand the edge in capturing market share even in the most competitive areas. Individual products can appeal to a variety of consumers and should be hugely targeted to each of these segments. This is done by adding value to the brand by identifying the buyer?s personas and needs, providing an angle to best position particular products to them. Then through the marketing, value can be added that is relevant to the target audience. Before presenting a product a detailed picture of the target audience must be developed. This needs to be done in segments of different demographics to identify their needs and develop behaviour profiles. Value can then be added to each persona and make sure the content is extremely targeted. This kind of strategy can be applied to any brand or product, to differentiate itself a brand needs to ensure it has the widest appeal. As well as making sure that products are positioned correctly, brands must invest in building end user awareness ? this is the most important hurdle to overcome in new markets. In order to attract a high volume of interest from retailers and customers, it is fundamental to generate as much brand awareness through the various channels that are available ? advertising, public relations and social media. Building engagement with the end-user through social media is particularly important in the saturated accessories market. Competitions, linking with complementing companies and relaying technology news all helps to position the company as a leader in its sector. All of the above tools must be utilised to spread as much awareness as possible. Different strategies will be more effective than others depending on the brand so it is recommended to analyse which of these channels has the most impactful result. Then focus more time and resources on these areas. By building brand awareness through these channels brands will become instantly recognisable and will build brand loyalty. In summary, the key to differentiating a brand in a saturated market, such as mobile accessories, is through strong research in understanding both the market and the various end consumers, investing in brand awareness and having the correct and most appealing price point. Jay Pau is CEO of STK Accessories.
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