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You love your business, but that doesn’t necessarily make it an easy story to tell. Good branding is both an art, and a science. It’s about positioning your company in a way which gets you noticed.
Great Brands Focus on Distinction
Just what is it that makes you unique? Your brand is your reputation and if you can define a set of characteristics which set you apart then you have a hefty advantage over your competitors. Make your brand easy to understand in simple words. Think about Starbucks – in essence, they just sell coffee, but by modelling their business on the Italian coffee culture they created an environment that customers loved. To ensure that your brand creates a longstanding impression, be distinguishable from your competition in a way that’s valuable and memorable to your customers.
Surprise is a powerful emotion. Surprise can make us laugh, listen, watch and even alter our behaviour. When something catches us unaware, it can be game-changing. Know how your competition sells themselves then turn around and do something entirely different. Target’s decision to allow Facebook users to choose how and where to channel its funds was surprising clever. Clever captivates people, encourages engagement and creates buzz.
Don’t rely on tried and tested techniques to market your brand, strive to innovate and differentiate instead. Tech giant HP unveiled Earth Insights, a cutting-edge environmental partnership with nonprofit group Conservation International. Rather than lecturing stakeholders about the opportunities involved in the partnership, HP constructed an interactive experience for journalists, employees and customers to engage with. A living wall of rainforest plants covered in touch screens proffered a selection of though-provoking data visualisations which were available to see, touch, and discover. HP let folk feel the power of their technology for themselves, for tech that could almost literally change the world.
Start With a Great Product
No amount of PR fluff can mask a shoddy product. Make your service look great and work perfectly. The Reputation Institute’s 2013 survey showed that while 73% percent of consumers are willing to recommend companies that stand for something meaningful, only 5% believe that companies actually deliver on their promises. Exceed expectations and the customers will come.
It’s about storytelling. Every company has a story to tell that lets people know who they are, what they do and what makes them tick. By telling stories you resonate with people and begin to form relationships. Consider Old Spice for example, an all but forgotten men’s perfume brand that engaged a spokesperson to appear in a series of 180 real-time videos. “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign amassed over 40 million views on YouTube and delivered a 107% increase in body wash sales within 30 days of the launch.
Collectively, the points we’ve covered show that integral to your brand strategy should be the ability to distinctly convey your brand identity, followed by the experiences you deliver – internal and external which conform to that identity. Don’t be afraid. The wisest entrepreneurs already know that often the greatest risk is not taking one.