Those of us with attention deficit disorders aren’t the only ones who hear, ‘Focus, please.’ Every one of us needs to – at least occasionally – take a moment to regain focus. In many ways, this is what separates moderately successful brands from the big brand names: Focus…and focus on one, principal brand attribute.
Of course, there are a number of wonderful things to say about your brand, but do all of those things point to one, chief brand benefit? If not, you may never experience success like the big brand names. Your target audience will sense your lack of focus, experience their own attention deficit, and then move on to other brand names whose purposes are clear.
What the Big Brand Names can Teach us about Focus
First things first. What are you best at doing? What does your brand offer that is unlike any other (its USP, or unique selling point)? What are you passionate about, above all else? What is that one thing you feel you can commit yourself to, for a lifetime?
Finding one answer that satisfies all of these questions does not promise to be an easy task; however, deliberation over this will make all subsequent branding steps simpler. Give this process the time it deserves, because it will shape all of your marketing communications, all of your strategic branding moves, and every interaction you’ll have with your target audience.
After you settle on your focus point, follow the following pieces of branding advice, extracted directly from the practices of the most successful brand names:
- Avoid the temptation to continually chase the ‘next big thing.’ When you identify your brand’s USP and communicate your passion for what you do – and you experience the success that comes with it – it will be natural for you to think that you can tap this kind of reward from the communication of other brand benefits. STOP. It’s normal for you to think your spectacular branding practices brought this success; however, the gem is most likely your principal benefit. Big brand names understand that communications and marketing savvy are crucial, but they view them as vehicles for delivering the primary message, not as stand-alone elements of success.
- Remember that variety does not come from changing your brand’s benefit focus, but rather from changing the methods with which you communicate that benefit. The big brand names deliver targeted marketing messages, create branded experiences, and plant their brand logos in a variety of ways – all with focus on a single brand benefit. Think of your brand focus as an ingredient (rice, flour, sugar, or eggs), and then set out to come up with as many ways to serve it as possible.
- When focus feels difficult, regain control by reducing the parameters of your target audience. Especially when brand names are new, the temptation can be to spray-and-pray, or select a wide target audience, choose a number of focus points, and throw everything out there. This not only causes ideal clients to be missed, it makes a brand difficult to define and easy to overlook. Start with a smaller audience, one main message, and your target audience will grow, organically.
- Define gimmick as a dirty word. Brand names that choose to follow trends (and attempt to start them, serially) lack focus, by nature. In their search for focus, they essentially define the essence of their brand as unreliable, scatter-brained, and shallow. No consumer wants to express loyalty for a brand that they don’t expect to reciprocate.
- View your brand through the eyes of consumers. Can you easily answer the question, “What does this brand stand for?” If not, then you’re not communicating your brand’s main benefit clearly enough. Focus on that benefit. Say it out loud, regularly. Sing about it, talk about it, Tweet about it…write it on your bathroom mirror…until all of your brand communications point to it, definitively. Before long, all of your brand efforts will naturally lead to it. Your mind will be focussed, and so will all of your branding decisions.
- Avoid confusing benefit focus with a meagre product line. If the addition of another product or service will serve to solidify your branding message, than by all means, explore that option. If you’re adding to your line for the sole purpose of expanding your brand’s focus, think long and hard about detriment to your brand’s focussed message. This might be the perfect time for consultation with a branding expert who has led other brand names to success.
There’s so much more to talk about in the realm of brand names and their focus. However, we ask you to adopt the notion that as you move through the process of becoming focussed, you will deny more ideas that you will accept. Think about it: Focus requires one main idea; all the others will be rejected. A brand owner or manager with determination will endure all of the NOs in order to find the one YES.
Will you be that person? Will you be the one who hangs with the big brand names? If you think you have what it takes, or you simply want an unbiased opinion about your brand’s focus, contact How to Build a Brand today. We’ll point you toward the tools necessary for brand focus, USP identification, passionate and fulfilling work, and ultimate brand success…just like the biggest brand names.
Learn more at the How to Build a Brand website, by liking our Facebook page, and by enrolling in our FREE 6-Step Brand L.E.A.D.E.R. programme. Don’t delay – getting started today puts your brand’s focus within reach.