Understanding What Makes You Different
How is Coca Cola different from Pepsi? Why would you choose to fly Virgin Atlantic over Aer Lingus? When a product or service is not completely unique in the market how do you communicate your “significant difference” to your customers in order to give them a compelling reason to choose your brand over your competitors?
Understanding what makes you authentically different and being able to communicate this succinctly to your customers is the key to creating strong brand equity. In fact giving your brand a distinctive, different and memorable voice is one of the most effective tools in gaining a competitive advantage in your market and building lasting customer loyalty.
Pepsi are currently in the process of re-shaping their brand identity in an effort to clearly differentiate their brand in the market. In 2011 Pepsi’s new president decided to find out what makes Pepsi different to Coca Cola. It took Pepsi 9 months to come up with an answer! Their analysis found that Coke is ‘timeless’ while Pepsi is ‘timely’ which in a nutshell means that Coke represents permanent happiness while Pepsi embraces excitement.
Identifying what makes Pepsi different has given the brand leverage to shape a clear position for the brand within their market. Understanding who they are and what they represent has enabled them to articulate their brand message to target consumers much more effectively because they are now armed with a brand message that communicates what makes Pepsi unique.
Pepsi are now shaping this revitalized brand identity through all their brand collateral including tagline, imagery and advertising campaigns etc. With a clearly defined brand strategy they are now consistently reinforcing what makes them different from their competitors throughout all their marketing campaigns.
Finding Your Brands Unique Voice
For many companies, identifying the very essence of what authentically differentiates their brand, be it product or service, from their competitors can be challenging, yet the untapped secret often lies within the heart of their business. It is the people, the corporate or brand culture, the internal core values on which the foundations of the brand has been shaped, that are often the greatest assets to a company endeavouring to build strong brand equity.
These elements are intrinsically unique within each business and can’t be readily replicated by competitors because the fundamental brand proposition is shaped, nurtured and developed through the internal character and strategies of the company and the people within it. The key is knowing and understanding which aspects of your brand “character” and “story” need to amplified in a way that matters to, and resonates with, your target audience.
If you want to develop strong brand equity to grow your business profitably then you need to start by getting a clear sense of who you are, as a brand/company, what you represent or stand for, what makes your company brand different.
When you can answer these questions you are in a better position to understand how to give your brand a unique and compelling voice that stands out from the crowd, resonates with your target market and ultimately builds your brand equity, giving you a competitive edge and increased profitability.
Have a Clear Sense of Who You Are
Virgin is a leading example of how to develop a brand with a voice so clear that it transcends industry and market boundaries. Their expansion through multiple channels has been very successful because Virgin has a clear sense of itself and consistently communicates their brand values to their target audience, while injecting their brand culture into everything they do.
From its inception Virgin embraced a ‘challenger brand’ status. Regardless of the industry, Virgin aimed to differentiate themselves from their competition by not playing by the rules. Virgin’s brand equity is founded on their brand’s ability to challenge both consumer perceptions and industry assumptions.
How has Virgin managed to succeed in industries as diverse as insurance and airlines, mobile phones, radio and rail? They succeed by consistently building on their brand values of delivering value price, high quality, cheeky fun, innovation and great customer service to every market they enter. They behave like the impudent, yet endearing smaller company that engenders customer affections when in fact they are a global brand power house.
Virgin has been able to consistently leverage its brand across multiple channels because it has so successfully developed it brand voice to “own a place” in the minds of its target audience.
Look how Virgin has been repeatedly able to enter new business arenas with a bang and shake up the existing status quo. The voice of the brand is clear and consistent throughout all the marketing strategies of the various brand/business ventures – a voice that tells the story of a brand that is fun, innovative, a maverick in its field, but equally synonymous with being consumer-centric and providing a quality service. Consequently, Virgin’s brand personality is highly visible in every market within which they operate.
What Does Your Brand Say to Your Customers?
If your product is not unique to its market, then your ability to distinguish your offering from that of your competitors lies in creating a remarkable and strong personality for your brand.
Your brand personality, together with its simple idea, brand story, way of doing things, the brand world it creates and the special relationships it engenders are the defining elements which will attract your target audience and compel them choose your brand over that of others in the market and consequently help you build a much more profitable and sustainable business.
Do you have a strong “voice” for your brand ?
• Do you know key strategic do’s and don’ts for your brand behaviour?
• Do you have a clear sense of where you stand in the market and what works best for your brand?
• Do you have a great product or service but are struggling to say what makes you different?
• Do you know the “magic ingredients” for your brand which makes it irresistible to your target audience?