The Foundations of Differentiation Zone’s Unique Approach

The essence of strategy is


Getting your customer to choose your organization isn’t about describing “what we do” but knowing















Uncovering vital insights about your customers’ preferences that lead to true differentiation means choosing a new approach:

Differentiation Zone®

A Field-tested Approach

Step 1


your customers, competitors and organization

Your journey begins with a disciplined study of your customers, competitors and external forces. We gather research and take stock of your organization. We apply real-time techniques to help you harmonize key data with trends, such as shifts in the economy, society-at-large, public policy, technology, and consumer behaviors.

Step 2


customer and competitor Insights

Next, you reveal original insights about data we’ve gathered and synthesized in the first step. Following a facilitated conversation, you complete this phase with an honest understanding of what matters most to your customers, what matters least, and what influences your competitors.

Step 3


differentiation and distinction to drive strategic success

Now you experience the signature step of the process. We “call the question” through a series of conversations to identify the essential elements that belong in your Differentiation Zone. We also shift what customers find unimportant to the Zone of Indifference™. You conclude this step with a clear and powerful description of your organization’s differentiators.

Step 4


your Differentiation Zone strategy and business model

You’ve arrived. This is the design phase armed with everything you need to know about your customers, competitors, and context. Now you can create your new competition-proof strategy by using the differentiators you declared in the prior step. Our facilitated process leads you to build a plan, making your strategy a reality and, if desired, an optimized business model.

We spent 10,000 hours so you won’t have to.

Differentiation Zone was created in the real world for real clients over a 10-year-period. Delivering relevant differentiation strategies requires a framework optimized for today’s customer.


Ideal for experienced strategists and seasoned executives to deliver results


Accessible for clients without business or strategy backgrounds


Eye-opening for organizations committed to earned income and traditional philanthropy


Embedded with design-thinking approaches to test ideas, build buy-in and enhance decision-making


Naturally iterative and intended for group setting with skilled facilitation


Inherently flexible and collaborative


Differentiation Zone helps you identify the unique attributes your organization possesses. Understanding them from the customer’s view and the marketplace is vital to articulating what sets your organization apart and what makes it exceptional.

— Karla Raines

Creator of Differentiation Zone®

It's All About Mindset

Getting to why we matter means adopting a customer mindset. What does that mindset look like? Think of your own life. You’re experiencing the best storytelling that customer-centered brands have to offer.
Woman and child playing at the bubble exhibition at the Children's Museum of Denver
Differentiation Zone

Where creativity meets strategy™

That’s Why Differentiation is Essential

Subscribe to Karla’s weekly Differentiation Zone Discoveries, join the waitlist for a future webinar or strategy camp, and you can download the “Six Core Principles of Differentiation Zone” to see if your current strategy measures up.