Does your brand pass the “best friend” test? Think about it. Some of our most precious relationships are the ones we have with our favorite brands. Consider for a moment your neighborhood coffee shop, where the barista knows your order by heart. Or the second glance you take as you drive past a #ShotOniPhone billboard. John Henry, executive producer of “VICE TV’s Hustle,” defines brand as a feeling. He argues that a cool logo or font alone won’t suffice when it comes down to the job of forging real connections with consumers. Your brand is how you make people feel consistently, collectively over time. This begs the question, would you want to be best friends with your brand? Here are our top 5 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand.
5. Stand for Something
Establishing who you are as a brand means getting to the root of your why. Don’t shy away from expressing what you believe in and carefully crafting your tone. Your core values are the foundation you need to begin building a solid community that feels aligned with your mission and values. Keep your promises. Our customers deserve a brand they can believe in and engage with in ways that ultimately add to their quality of life.
4. Find the Gap and Close It
People in business are often told to view their competitors as rivals. But this isn’t a rerun of Mean Girls. In reality, your competitors can empower you to evolve into a more innovative and forward-thinking brand. In many ways, studying the competition can reveal your areas of growth and opportunity. This fundamental shift in thinking made room for companies like Sara Blakely’s SPANX to address the changing needs within an industry and create her own lane in her competitor’s blind spot.
3. Share Your Secret
You are the expert. You hold valuable information and are in a unique position to educate the consumer through your content and marketing strategy in a creative way. Help them understand why your brand is the best fit for them. Picture a dressing room in your favorite clothing boutique where the attendant knows the perfect dress for you. She understands you as a shopper, listens to your needs and responds accordingly. Communicate through your brand with the same level of expertise and enthusiasm.
2. Be Unforgettable
We’ve all heard the saying, “People will never forget how you made them feel,” but how often do we consider this notion when building a brand? Don’t be afraid to go beyond the digital walls of social media to make meaningful connections with your clients and consumers! In the age of technology, handwritten thank you’s, pop-up shops and IRL marketing go a long way on the memorability scale. Chart out goals for creating experiences, big or small, that your customers won’t forget.
1. Share Your Wins
Building a brand is the perfect excuse to throw your own party! People that connect with your why will want to celebrate right along with you. As for the relationships you’ve yet to build, sharing your successes creates brand equity and opportunities to build trust. Don’t stop there. Instead of treating your audience as wallflowers, invite them to actively participate in the celebration. Reached your goal of 1K followers? Announce a special giveaway! New press feature? Share the joy and keep the party going.
You have what it takes to stand out in your industry. What works for other companies may not be the best fit for you. Trust the process. Don’t hesitate to try a new approach to elevating your brand story and broaden your scope of influence. Remember that you have a unique story to tell and as long as that lives authentically at the center of your work, the rest will follow!