Does your brand strategy stand out from the competition? How? Is your sales funnel different? Or is your price a bit lower?
There are loads of business owners out there who truly believe that process and price differences are enough to set them apart from their competitors. Here’s the truth:
If your competition lowers their prices and changes their process to be more like yours, then your brand is no longer different.
When creating your brand strategy, you need to come up with a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that runs much deeper than process or price. That USP needs to be something that not only attracts your ideal customers, but that will be very difficult for the competition to duplicate—because it is YOU that makes your brand different. No one can be YOU except you.
That’s why I suggest building your brand strategy around what makes you intrinsically different. No one can take that from you. No one can duplicate that with authenticity.
Let’s talk about how to flesh that out, to make your brand strategy more unique (and therefore better) than the rest.
A Unique Brand Strategy is a Better Brand Strategy
It can be difficult to decide what makes you (and therefore your brand) unique without some serious introspection. Seriously: you’ve lived with yourself for your whole life. You know yourself, and have become accustomed to living, feeling and acting the way that you do, every day. To ask yourself how you’re unique—when everything you do is your “normal”—can be one of the most difficult things you’ll have to do as you build your brand strategy.
Notice I said “difficult,” not “impossible.” This is one of those exercises that few business owners take the time to do, and it shows in the business failure rate (67% fail in the first year).
Do this, and you’ll multiply your chances of not only getting noticed and surviving past that first year, but of thriving for many years to come.
Here are some suggestions for finding what makes you unique (and then building your brand strategy around that):
- Ask friends, family, colleagues and business associates what makes you different. The people who know you best are the best equipped for telling you how you’re different. They have encountered many people throughout their lives and are comparing and contrasting personalities, quirks, tendencies, gifts and talents every day. They will be well-prepared to tell you how you stand out from others. Take what they say as truth; they are seeing the same things consumers will see whilst making buying decisions.
- What’s that one thing you love to do (and that others come to you for)? You know the thing: you love doing it, whilst others complain about doing it. And not only does that thing make you happy, you’re really good at it. This thing has great potential to be your USP. Let your love for that thing shine through, and you’ll stand out from the competition.
- What bothers you about the way the competition does business? And is that bothersome point also a problem for their customers? If something just doesn’t seem right to you, it’s likely that others feel the same way. What can you do differently (and do well), that delivers a unique brand experience for consumers who want their problems solved…but who want those problems solved in ways that differ from how your competition is doing it?
- What outcry from consumers can you answer? This isn’t about finding consumer complaints, choosing one randomly, and answering it with your brand. Instead, it’s about finding that consumer complaint that touches you at the core of your value system; the one that you can’t stop thinking about; the one that you know you can fix with something you love to do. If the complaint has existed for any period of time, that means there’s an opening in the market for the answering of it. If you feel compelled, deeply, to respond to that complaint in your own unique way, you have a USP.
- If you already have a brand strategy, take notice to why consumers are choosing the competition over you. If this happens quite often, then your brand is missing that special something that keeps people loyal and satisfied, knowing that they won’t find anything comparable to your brand. If they’re hopping from brand to brand, there are probably things like price wars and process battles going on. Rise above. Create the brand strategy that will make those battles seem insignificant. Be the BIGGER different.
Do you feel inspired to build a better brand strategy? One that is different enough to cast a shadow on the competition? Or do you need a brand expert opinion on your existing brand strategy—to ensure that it’s serving your brand and building brand awareness? Join me every Tuesday evening on Twitter (8-9 pm) to ask your branding questions at @milesfryer #BrandBrainsQandA.
And don’t forget to register for one of our upcoming B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamps. In just one day’s time, you’ll learn to not only create a brand strategy that works, but to make your brand more credible, visible and profitable.