How To Make Your Brand Stand Out In A Noisy World
The reality in business is that there are more choices than what people need so what you sell will not be 100% unique, someone else in the marketplace is probably selling something very similar.
So how do people choose which one to buy?
When your potential customers look at your marketing collateral (like your website) and cannot distinguish you from your competitors, logically speaking so they would buy the cheaper one.
And this is a real risk in business because to stay in the game you must spend even more money in marketing to increase exposure and may even enter into a price war with your competitors.
Not sure if this is good or bad for business but chances are that your profit margin will be squeezed so badly that you might as well do this for free.
That’s why it is important to take a step back and really think about how to position your product in the marketplace, even BEFORE you do any marketing.
Business owners are spending a lot of their precious time just to learn and understand how to use the vast number of marketing tools and platforms available to businesses today.
They have to!
Unfortunately that means less time is spent on actually thinking about the message itself, which probably is the most important of all because when you send out a wrong identity to customers, not only people will ignore you, you are also wasting money on marketing.
So if you are not winning as many businesses as you expect, the problem may not be the product, but rather the way you talk about the product.
For successful brands, marketing is not (just) about exposure. Marketing is about values.
In 1997, Steve Jobs was so unhappy with how much Apple was spending on marketing and about the message the company was communicating. He realised that in an increasingly noisy world the chances for any company to be remembered were diminishing and that Apple needed to get really clear about what it was they wanted people to remember.
So he created the ‘THINK DIFFERENT’ campaign to remind people Apple’s core values and why it exists.
The rest was history.
If you get your message right, before executing your marketing, not only you can avoid wasting money on ineffective marketing, you would also communicate a clear and consistent message across all marketing platforms, this is exactly what all great brands have in common:
Clear identity. Focus on core values. Consistent message.
So let me share with you 3 ways to talk about your products so customers see value from what you sell.
Start from your customer’s experience and work backwards
Not vice versa.
In fact this is exactly what Steve Jobs said in 1997 at the World Wide Developers Conference.
Let’s elaborate it further here.
Every business exists to solve a problem. However if you don’t know what the problem is in the first place how would you get your customers to buy it?
Customers are not interested in how great your product is, they are interested in how your products help them solve their problems.
In other words, customers are interested in their own story, or their own transformation journey. If you can demonstrate that you understand their problem and how it makes them feel (in other words, empathise), they will start connecting with you.
In communication, this is called building rapport.
And to do that it is really simple, just talk to your customers!
Their answer is exactly what you want to say in your marketing!
Sell a brand, not a commodity
Without meaning, what you are really selling is just a commodity.
Let’s take Rolex as an example here because it is just a watch company yet its price tag is probably 100x more than your typical watch, yet its something many people want.
Indeed a Rolex watch is simply a device that tells time, and most people use their phone to see the time now anyway!
So what meaning does this product give that makes people want it?
Rolex helps you communicate a social status. When people see you wear it you will be perceived to have achieved success and are more likely to do it again in the future, this helps you gain confidence and feel special. It probably even save time when it comes to meeting a really important person, helping you to win deals or charge more.
It is an emotional benefit that everyone desires and if you think about it, not many brands can help you achieve that, making the Rolex brand unique.
That’s what makes wearing a Rolex watch so special, people were willing to pay a premium to feel special.
And Rolex communicates this message through ‘Every Rolex Tells A Story’ with the world’s most successful people like Roger Federer.
Position (very) narrow, reach wide
The more narrow you are, the more unique you are. And if you try to be everything, you are just like everyone else.
Think about a shoe company, say Nike. If the company sells trainers in addition to flip-flops, leather shoes, wellingtons, high-heels etc.
Would that not make the Nike brand vague?
Instead Nike positions itself as a sports shoes company, focusing on athletes with a mission to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. They do that by celebrating athletes success and helping them unleash their potential through their product.
In all Nike’s marketing, you would not see it talking about its products.
Nike has not changed its marketing strategy in the past 20 years, their message is always consistent, reaching wide to every major sport in the world. ’Just Do It’ is still one of the most iconic slogan in the world today.
Sometimes the problem may be the product, but the way you talk about product.
Spend time to really clarify your message.