Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer is one of the great examples of the power of differentiation. The red nose that compelled Santa to ask him to pull his sleigh on Christmas Eve gained him an opportunity that most reindeer would kill for (if they were that kind of creature which is probably not the case).
Standing out from the crowd is one of the holy grails of business. Why should somebody buy from me rather than my competitors? What do I need to do to ensure my business gets the contract ahead of all those businesses offering similar goods and services?
Clearly if a red nose was the answer then we would all be doing Comic Relief every day. Actually a good corporate responsibility programme can made a difference. No quibble service guarantees are a good selling point. Good people who are easy to deal with and provide solutions are an obvious plus.
Conventional wisdom always advises against using price to differentiate as invariably there is always someone who can do it cheaper, but a clear pricing policy with some good value added free options can work well.
The key to good differentiation is an understanding of what your customer actually values and how they benefit from what you offer. A good service at a competitive price is taken for granted. Customers want to feel that their suppliers understand them and will work to find a solution that fits their particular situation.
A word of warning. If your red nose is not a natural attribute and comes from excessive indulgence in festive cheer you may find yourself standing out in a way that you might not want to. Regardless of what you have been told there is such a thing as bad publicity.