A little housekeeping before we dive in. When you hear me talk about “brand” I’m referring to a heck of a lot more than a logo, color scheme and type face.
These are important, but your brand is so much more. It’s the thing that makes you different, your story, your voice, your promise…the entire experience of choosing YOU.
If your brand is undefined, too broad or always changing, your potential customers will have no idea what to expect, or why they should choose you over the competition.
It creates ambivalence, an attitude of “Meh, I could take it or leave it, let’s see what the other guys offer”; it will be the death of you.
On the other hand, a strong brand creates raving fans and loyal followers. It’s a message that makes your ideal customers jump up and say…
“Yes! That’s the solution to my problem!”
“This is so me.”
“This product/These people are awesome!”
“They get me, finally someone who understands.”
You won’t get a reaction like this if you merely blend in with all the other voices in your segment…saying the same thing, in the same tone with the same personality.
I’m talking about having a thing that makes your company or product different, and valuable. I call it your unique value proposition, some people call it a unique selling point (USP), same thing.
Not sure if you have a unique value proposition? Here’s a hint…if you do, you’ll know it.
Rolex has a unique position in the market. They make luxury watches; everything about their brand and their brand experience speaks to exclusivity and luxury. Rolex doesn’t carry a line of budget watches for the every day consumer.
By taking a stand for their brand Rolex creates a strong connection with a specific type of consumer that appreciates their value and is willing to pay a premium for it. In fact, the price is part of the brand because it further implies quality, wealth and luxury.
Here’s another great example…imagine a new make of vehicle, an automotive brand that doesn’t want to limit their options. They decide to be the brand of choice for families (with kids), the under 25 segment, the 6-figures club and Boomers.
This *seems* brilliant, all potentially lucrative market segments. But how on earth can one vehicle appeal to the unique needs, values and desires of four very different demographics?
They can’t, and this becomes a problem. They’ll either tow the line and shovel out a generic message…or dissect their brand into four pieces all telling a very different story…and leaving everyone feeling lukewarm at best.
The problem with trying to appeal to all the people all the time is that you aren’t memorable to anyone. Your brand experience is vague and none of your customers really feel a ‘spark’ or emotional connection.
Yes, it’s a lot like dating!
Now you’re thinking differently about marketing. :) Next month I’ll give you five solid ways to differentiate your brand. I’ll also show you some more companies that are doing it well.
Photo Credit: Ozgurmulazimoglu