3 Things to help your Brand Stand Out
Branding is one of the most vital parts of growing a business. It’s how you differentiate yourself from your competitors, and how you stand out from the crowd. Most importantly, it’s the unspoken promise you make to your customers, and your business’s success depends on how well you fulfill that promise.
Your brand is the exact blueprint of how you will represent yourself to your customers. It identifies your customers, your design, and the voice and tone of your marketing and communication efforts. It clearly articulates the wants and needs of your customers.
In short, branding is the upstream driver of everything that comes underneath a business's marketing campaign. It drives culture, tells customers what to expect, and ultimately drives a business to succeed or fail.
We’ve all seen brands change and grow throughout the years. Brands change to evolve and address alterations in the market, from logo changes, to marketing messages, and new angles and approaches to delivering a product or service. Most brands who’ve stood the test of time use these three ways to differentiate themselves and stand above their competitors:
If you look at great brands, you’ll see trends emerge. And really great brands know how to lock into one of these key variables that define success - they know how to sell emotion. They sell you a feeling, then deliver it through the product or an experience.
For example, Coca-Cola sells happiness. Visa sells the feeling of freedom. Toyota sells freedom, reliability, adventure.
Understand what emotions your customers are craving, and you will win your branding efforts. Oftentimes, a business’s marketing campaigns focus too much on delivery mechanisms and not the state the customer will be in once they receive the product or service.
Most customers don’t actually want the specific item, service, or product they purchase. They actually want more safety, security, happiness… or less pain, less stress, less time or effort output, and more results. Most customers' wants and needs are simple. While attempting to stand out, entrepreneurs tend to overcomplicate things and think that because their mechanisms of delivery for their products are so different from their competitors that their customers care as much about it as they do.
This isn’t true… Ask yourself questions like;
What emotions are evoked when my customers receive my product or service?
What are the pain points that my customers are trying to solve?
What is the end-state of receiving my product or service for an extended period of time?
What are the results my product or service delivers?
Use the answers to these questions to understand what your brand or business delivers. Create a roadmap of the emotional journey your customer goes through. Then speak to each part of the journey in your marketing messages.
When people are first learning about your product or service, what are the emotions they are feeling? As they move from a cold/unaware person to a warmer and more educated lead, what emotions and thoughts do they have about your product and service?
Map the customer journey using emotions as the basis for transformation and let your marketing then speak to each segment as they move through the conditional logic that is your marketing funnel.
Consistency is Key
Consistency is the key to any branding campaign. Since branding is a promise you make to your customers, this promise MUST be made consistently throughout your front and back-end marketing campaigns to maintain integrity.
One of the hardest things about our current entrepreneurial world is to not get distracted by all the shiny objects around us. It’s so easy to see a gap in the market and innately rush to try to fill it. As entrepreneurs, we capitalize on the opportunities we see in front of us. That’s the job of an entrepreneur… It’s to see room for improvement in society and then create that improvement.
When you define your brand, you create a container for your business. You figure out what fits into “the box” that defines who and what your business is and who it serves. You understand what it is that you do you and what you don’t do. When you’ve created this roadmap, it allows you the framework to say no to opportunities that will create inconsistencies in your business.
Define your brand, create a consistent message that speaks to your audience's emotions, and make sure you continually measure any and all new possible products, services, or marketing channels against who and what your brand is. If it fits, run it. If it doesn’t, you’ll know, and saying no will be so much easier.
Branding is about more than messaging and consistency. It’s also about creating community. The best brands created communities accidentally. For instance, Costco didn’t intend to create a community with their memberships, but you know if you’re a Costco member and you’ve had a discussion with another member that you’ve likely talked about some product or service they have. You’ll find that communities are created inadvertently by large brands. That community of enthusiasts then created more containers for the community online through forums, Facebook groups, and other places to gather and exchange knowledge.
Great brands don’t just silently induct you into communities… Great brands create communities and places for their customers and clients to congregate, communicate and create new relationships. Peleton and Literati are both great examples of this type of Branded community.
This type of community creates 2 powerful psychological process
In the age of information, finding the information we actually need is sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack. We often find ourselves with answers, but because the internet is open source, it’s hard to trust that the information we get is true. When you create a community and involve celebrities and thought leaders, you do two powerful things for your customers. You allow them to relax and trust the information's validity (compared to a forum or googling.) You’ve earned social authority with them by leveraging someone they know, like, and trust.
At the end of the day, branding is much more than marketing or a logo/ Branding is exactly how your customer feels about you and your products/services and every touchpoint they’ve ever experienced from your business. It’s about providing your customers with solutions to their problems that create a change in their lives and, most importantly, in their emotional state and quality. It’s about creating a consistent place of business where they can reliably come to get their needs met. And most importantly, it’s about creating a community where they know their answers will be met with the best and most reliable information they possibly can get.