Branding is a key function that will allow your business, product or service to stand out and mean more to the prospects you hope to turn into customers, as well as to your existing customers, so that they keep coming back to you, rather than the competition.
If you’re not a brand, you’re a commodity.
We love to use the acronym B.R.A.N.D. to remind us of the essential elements of a successful brand.
To stand out, above the competition, your brand has to be bold. Vanilla brands just aren’t going to cut through the noise from all your competitors messages.
Get off the fence and take a position. Have a strong message that resonates with your prospects and customers. It’s much easier to get into the customers mind if you have an emotional connection with them.
To make an emotional connection with prospects and customers, you’ve got to be relevant. If you and your message isn’t relevant, you’ll be ignored and overlooked.
The human mind is conditioned to pay attention to things that mean something to it and filter out everything else. People go about their daily routines in a trance-like state, and grabbing attention is only possible if your message is relevant enough to pull your prospects out of that state and give your message some consideration.
People are always looking to improve their sense-of-self, via some type of perceived increase. Increase of knowledge, increase of valuable connections, increase of property, increase of standing in the community. At their core people act to seek pleasure and avoid pain, it is the driving force of the human race, and most other species.
So your brand should act to help them do this through your brand promises. Mercedes helps customers tell the world how successful they are and that’s the promise their customers are willing to buy into and pay for.
Your brand has to do the same to be successful.
Your brand needs to be worthy of attention by being as close to remarkable as possible. This will help you stand out and be remembered more easily. Marketing guru Seth Godin will tell you to “Make things better by making better things.”
However it’s not enough to just be remarkable, the key is to make sure you tell your story in such a way that your prospects and customers buy into it.
Being different means positioning yourself uniquely within the market you operate in. Branding requires you to own a unique word or have a unique meaning in your customers mind.
To do this you have to position yourself away from competitors. No two brands can own the same word or meaning if they are going to be successful brands. Think about how you position Mercedes and Ford within the automotive market, or how you position Tesco from Aldi from Asda within the supermarket space. They all occupy unique brand positions.
Different isn’t a nice-to-have element in branding, it’s arguably the most important one.