We have a problem. There is simply too much choice and consumers are bombarded with information.
How does an average person cope with the current media explosion? Studies on the sensitivity of the human brain have established the existence of a phenomenon called “sensory overload”. Scientists have discovered that a person is capable of receiving only a limited amount of sensation. Beyond a certain point, the brain can go blank and refuse to function normally!
So how can you ensure that your brand stands out and communicates with your target customer?
Everyone is busy these days, so it’s difficult to find time to compare available brands and make an informed choice.
Yet every businesses has a brand and you are engaged in branding through your business behaviour – either strategically or accidentally. It’s unavoidable. Understanding this fact and developing your brand strategy is vital. Consumers have to make choices and when they encounter you they’ll make shorthand impressions and attach those to your name, messaging, appearance, and the customer service you provide.
Now at this stage if you’re tempted to think that branding is about advertising, selling, promoting or networking, then hang on a second – you’re sailing in the wrong direction! Branding means understanding the appeal of your products to your customers and maximising the value of that promise to them.
There are three traits that strong and positive brands always share: Consistent, Authentic and Unique.
Being consistent means always delivering on your promise to your customers. Being authentic is about expertise. It’s about being the most believable voice that your customers can trust all the time. It helps you to create a niche that nobody else can occupy.
Being unique is the hardest challenge in a marketplace where there are dozens of products similar to yours trying to communicate with customers and bombard them with information 24/7.
As long as you are imitating what your competition does it’s impossible to be unique. For instance, yesterday I met the owner of a new tech-startup who specialise in cloud-based solutions for fleet management. She shared an interesting observation which is one of the reasons for her success! She said it has been really easy to sell their software solution in this niche market (Taxi services) as Taxi services tend to imitate their competitors!
She told me that Taxi fleet owners tend to think, ”Oh – our competitor has started using this system, we need to start using it too!”, and because of the fear that the competitor might outdo them, they buy it as well! Good for her, right?
But does this ring any bells? Have you been in this situation? Once you start looking for it you’ll spot competitor imitation in every industry. And of course, they don’t stand out because of it.
But there are many ways to differentiate your brand so that people remember you. I think Dove is just brilliant at it. This brand knows its target audience and engages with them beautifully.
Branding is just this simple – and this difficult. It’s not about losing your integrity but maintaining it. It’s not about selling out but buying in.
Ideally you want your customers and prospective customers to think : ”I like you and I trust you. As long as you don’t disappoint me, I will choose you over others when I see you. You can charge me a little more and work less hard to get my attention. I’ll remember your name the next time I shop.”
David Vinjamuri, a well known Brand Expert said “Branding is a promise, pure and simple” – but you have to deliver on that promise!
So branding and positioning are ultimately about that intangible place that businesses occupy in our minds. Favourably or unfavourably.
How you talk about your business and what you do to promote it has another name. That’s called marketing.