When someone thinks of your company’s brand, what instantly comes to mind? Is the feeling, “Yeah, that’s my favorite.”? If that’s the case, good for you. You’re one of the lucky ones who have hit the jackpot.
But let’s be brutally honest now. How often do people respond with “Huh?”
Time after time when brands are greeted with yawns, the reason is the same. Instead of developing brand perceptions that surprise and delight, way too companies believe they’re found the holy grail with one of these three “benefits”:
- Price. We’re not the cheapest but over the long haul we’re a much better value.
- Quality. Nobody comes close to the quality we offer. We’re the gold standard.
- Service. Our service is second to none. This company was built on customer service.
If I ask the competition the same question, chances are awfully good that I get the same result. Price. Service. Quality. Sorry to say, those aren’t points of differentiation. They’re points of entry.
If your brand is thought of as being about the same as all your competition, you’ll soon get lost in the shuffle. Yep, your brand will be considered boring.
And since nobody was ever bored into buying a product, you have to do better than that.
And you can.
There is something about your company that makes it special. There’s something you offer that customers want and willing to pay more for. You know you have a great story to tell. You’re just not sure how to tell it.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to get you on your way to developing a strong, memorable brand.
- What are the other guys up to? See what, if any, position they’ve carved out. If they’re all zigging, make sure you zag.
- What do you do? If someone asks what your company does, what would you say? What about others in your company? You’d be surprised how often there isn’t a simple, consistent answer. Your brand strategy needs to focus on exactly what you do and why you do it.
- For whom do you do it? Develop customer personas built on their likes, dislikes, and interests; as well as age, gender, and income A clear picture of your customers lets you connect with them person-to-person.
- What do they want? Determine their pain points. What problem can your company solve? Go beyond product attributes and look to benefits.
- What makes your company different? Identify what differentiates your company. Two patties and a slice of cheese are just that until you add the special sauce. Then it[s a Big Mac. What’s your special sauce?
Here’s the bottom line. When competitive products seem alike (and most all do), the brand that people feel most positive about wins. If you need help turning your brand into a winner, there are a number of branding companies with the skills to speed the process.
Believe it or not, we know of a Kalamazoo, MI branding company with a great track record of making sure brand stories are well told. As a first step, download the free eBook.
About the author
Greg Miller is an accomplished brand strategist and creative director. He also heads Maxwell+Miller, the Kalamazoo, Michigan brand consulting and creative firm.They specialize in using brand differentiation to influence buying behavior.