Without a unique value proposition, yours is just another business
Making your brand stand out is not a matter of coming up with a new logo and tagline. Sure, lots of big companies do that -- like banks, oil companies and telcos. They’ll spend millions on a refresh, and millions more on advertising campaigns to support the new paint job. It’s a waste of money for the banks who’re already branded as greedy and uncaring by customers who largely despise them.
Most companies have far less money and far more competition than banks, and most have to work much harder to win and keep customers. The successful ones have a clear vision and mission, and have defined their unique value proposition in a compelling elevator pitch which their staff understand and can recite in their sleep.
If that isn’t true for your business, it’s time to sit down with your core team to define these essentials. Once you’ve defined your unique value proposition, craft a compelling message to convey it to the market. Use language that is distinctly yours and don’t flatter your smartest competitor by borrowing his. It will only confuse the audience and you'll both lose.
Make sure we get the message
A common mistake companies make in their messaging is talking about who they are and what they do. Your prospective customers don't care about you; they care about themselves and their problems. When they read your message, they're thinking WIIFM (What’s-In-It-For-Me) not what's in it for you. Put yourself in their shoes -- and tell them what you can do for them that no one else can.
The WHY behind the WHAT, the HOW behind the WHY
You'll need to elaborate on WHAT you can do for people by showing HOW you can (when no one else can) and explain WHY it’s important. Here are some typical questions you should ask from the market’s point of view, during the message crafting process:
- Why should I buy your product/service?
- What makes it better for me than services that sound the same?
- Why should I believe you?
Keep your messaging simple, avoid convoluted sentences, big words, buzzwords and jargon, and aim for the three Cs: Clear, Concise, Compelling. Don’t be afraid to let your passion for what you do shine through your messages. People like passion and dislike bland corporate speak.
Dare to be different
A former client of ours in antivirus/endpoint protection used to have a great differentiator: it didn’t sell to consumers, only to organisations. All its competitors sold and supported their product via distributors and resellers. A while later, the client went the same way; it had a unique value proposition, and simply gave it away. It happens.
3 dead simple ways to make your brand stand out
That’s what we promised up front, so here it is. Whatever you promise, you must deliver or your brand will suffer. Look at Apple and the iPhone 5, a phone that can’t handle phone calls. It doesn’t take long even for a big brand to become a laughing stock.
You achieve the strongest and clearest differentiation in the marketplace when:
- You do things in a way your competitors don’t
- Go where your competitors aren’t
- Offer what your competitors can’t or won’t
In other words, you win by being a disruptive force in your industry. Turn it upside down if you can, and soon everyone will try to follow you.
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