Brand identity goes far deeper than just a cool logo on some okay products. Your brand stands out only if it’s remembered for being excellent, so at all phases of the customer experience, you need to give them a reason to remember you. Host, Gerry Foster, discusses the importance of thinking differently when it comes to building your brand. It has to go past the aesthetics, even though that’s important as well. Find out how to become the exception and not the rule.
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Episode 26: Think Different. One of the things that I’ve been talking a lot about is how in the world do you stand out in a crowded market? You can look at the internet as a whole. You can look at specific industries. You could look at certain niche markets. You’re going to see a very crowded web that is filled with blogs, video marketing and tweets. You’re seeing tons of social networks. It’s becoming more and more of a challenge for any small business owner to not only stand out but get noticed and be remembered in the midst of such a crowded market. The ultimate goal must be to influence the perception of your brand in such a way that people think about you and pay attention to what it is that you have to offer. In the absence of that, you can find yourself getting stuck. You’re going to get stuck in the me-too market space, that sea of look-alike products and services where everybody is starting to look like a giant blur or basically a commodity.
It’s a giant mess. You’ve got all these confused consumers because they’re not quite sure who to choose or they’re not quite sure who to believe at times. One thing you might want to do is think about Apple and their famous tagline of, “Think different.” That’s what Steve Jobs said. He understood the importance of influencing and shaping perceptions so that people see you as the go-to brand in your space, whether you’re offering a product, a service, a nonprofit, a business or yourself as a personal brand. It’s all about people paying attention to you and seriously taking a look at what you have to offer.
That requires more than simply focusing on your image. I’m not knocking the importance of fancy graphics and pretty colors. I’m not knocking the importance of having the right kind of look in terms of your thumbnail looks, Facebook cover photos and all the other stuff that are done from an image standpoint. I understand the importance of the aesthetics. However, within the context of think different, what does Steve Jobs do? He reinvented Apple twice. There’ve been a whole lot of big branders out there who realize that it may make a lot of sense to become looked upon as an innovator as opposed to an imitator, and so they re-invent.
Richard Branson, he reinvented flight when he created Virgin Airways with Virgin Atlantic. Think Phil Knight when he created Nike and reinvented the sneaker. Jeff Bezos reinvented the bookstore and what it means to buy books, not just in a department store but rather online with a brand that he created called Amazon. I can add to this list Howard Schultz when he created Starbucks to give people a unique coffee experience. Fred Smith when he created FedEx for overnight delivery. John Mackey reinvented the supermarkets when he came up with Whole Foods. The list goes on and on.
It’s great to have the logos, all the pretty colors and all the things that go along with the brand identity, the visuals. All that great stuff, I get that. They understood that what lies at the root of having an amazing brand that people will want to buy is giving people a reason to buy what you have, which means that you cannot appear like everybody else. That’s the essence of it. You need to start thinking about how can you influence your brand perception? How can you get people to go beyond simply the face of your brand, all the visual stuff? Instead, communicate the essence of what you have, that core foundation that is going to get people to pay attention to why you even exist and what is it that is special about your brand.
Brand Identity: You might get stuck in the me-too marketplace with a sea of lookalike products where everyone begins to look like a giant blur.
It’s the whole thing about being clear on what makes you different. It’s about being very clear on the benefits that you offer through your brand, be it functional benefits, emotional benefits, and on and on. It also has to do with what is ultimately going to become your content in terms of what you’re putting into the various marketing channels that do feed into the internet. Be an innovator, not an imitator. Be the exception, not the rule. Deviate, don’t conform. Above all, remember that your brand identity is everything, but it goes well beyond simply those aesthetics and all those visual tools. It’s so much about shaping the perception of what you offer in a way that matters the most to your customer.
To realize that in order for your brand to create and deliver a truly great brand experience at every touch point throughout your marketing, throughout your selling, through whatever it is that you decide to do, to get people to pay attention to you, you have to find your place on the web where you can plant your flag and stake your claim and say that you’ve got something that is going to deliver incredible value to your customer, no matter how saturated that market may be.
That can spark a lot of imagination out there for some of you in terms of coming up with some awesome out of the box ways to do that through the marketing of your brand in terms of what you decide to do to stand up more on Instagram, what you decided to do through YouTube, what you decide to do in terms of your content marketing, your digital marketing and all of that. Do remember that at the end of the day, it’s all about putting something out there that tells people that you are top-notch. You are best in class, and that you have something that is going to connect with their hearts and that they’re going to fall in love with. Until next time, take care.
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