One of the challenges faced by a lot of brands, particularly mid sized brands competing in crowded spaces, is how to formulate a message that allows them to be clearly recognised and identified as standing for something specific in their market. It is very easy to be seen as just another one of many similar offerings if you don’t have a distinctive message to help the customer see you as different.
Here are 3 ways you might try and do this for your brand:
Tell an interesting story
Humans are naturally inclined to remember great stories. Some of my personal favourites include an entrepreneur who took his last £30K to the casino and put it all on black to pay the wage bill and a soldier whose job was throwing donkeys out of the back of planes.
Great stories are remembered, as are the tellers. Where brands often go astray is kidding themselves that they have a really compelling “brand story” when all they actually have is a pretty lukewarm USP at best.
Great stories have people at their heart, not brands, even when they’re about brands. You need to mine the back stories of the people in and around your brand to find those “wow” anecdotes that’ll actually make a difference to your communication effectiveness.
Go against the tide
This is one of our favourite tactics, because whilst with the stories approach you’re at the mercy of what’s actually already happened in the world, this one is open to anyone. It’s a simple idea. If everyone else sells one way, you try something completely different.
When we launched a new brand for a gym client a couple of years back, the whole industry was awash with ads featuring rail thin models in scraps of lycra urging the prospective member to “feel the burn” etc. We found a space for a brand that was more inclusive, less scary and more well rounded in its messaging, looking at sustainable health and fitness over time and encompassing wider wellbeing rather tan solely focusing on the body.
Pick a distinctive speaker
The final way you can try is to pick a distinctive speaking vehicle for your message. The insurance industry is probably the best known example of this. You have basically the same product, at similar prices, and very little room to to anything to differentiate yourself from your competitors. So you use a bulldog, a meerkat, an annoying opera singer etc. to give you a means of standing out.
Will this make a customer choose you over another? Not necessarily. But it does mean you’re at the races when the decision making process starts and can get your prospect to listen to whatever you think your edge might be.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are three tried and true ways that will work when applied effectively and consistently. If you’re struggling to stand out and you’d like to talk to people who do different for a living, please drop us a line…