Superbowl LIV showcased two great teams who provided their fans with an exciting game. But the main event in many lopsided Superbowl contests are the advertisements. The price tag of these ads requires that the companies who pay for them understand exactly how they want to position themselves in order to create a distinctive brand.
Strategic branding requires understanding the relationship between your company and your customer. To strategically brand your product or service, you must know precisely what you want to convey—and why.
Here are three steps to create a distinctive brand.
1. Understand your customer
You must know who your customer is. First, you must understand your customer demographically. It’s important to know what they look like.
- Are they middle-aged men?
- Or are they teenage girls?
- Or are they older working couples near the end of their career?
You need to have a clear picture of who your customer is. Second, you must understand your customer psychographically. It’s important to know how your customer thinks.
- What do they want?
- Or what are their aspirations?
- What are they concerned about?
- And what are they afraid of?
By knowing their desires and pain points you can better understand your customer.
If you have different product lines, it’s important to know who the customer is for each line. You can even create avatars for your customers and give them a name, like Sally or Hernando or Treneika. It’s helpful to know these customer avatars so thoroughly that you merely mention their name and everyone else on your team will know the type of customer you are talking about.
2. Understand your company
You need to who you are as a company. It’s important to understand who you are as a company and what your capabilities are.
- Do you manufacture specialized electronics?
- Or do you grow a fungible staple?
- Do you service a small niche audience?
- Or do you serve a large swathe of the public?
You need to know what you can do so that you are able to say what you can do—and what you can’t do.
It’s also important to understand what makes you tick as an organization. It’s crucial for you to know how you do what you do. The values you operationalize will serve to create the culture of your organization and will color everything you do. They can even help you determine the customers you should serve.
- Are you a traditionalistic group?
- Or are you an iconoclastic bunch?
- Do you always do things by the book?
- Or do you go the extra mile?
Knowing how you always do things—or never do things—is important in understanding who you are as a company.
It’s also extremely important to understand why you do what you do. Your purpose is a great asset to your organization in terms of understand the reason you exist. Are you in business just to make a profit? Or are you in business to make a difference? Knowing your why is crucial to understanding your company.
3. Understand the unique benefit you provide
When you can match
- what you do,
- how you do it, and
- why you do it
- who your customer is and
- what they want,
then you have the makings of a distinctive brand.
It’s important to understand what other companies are doing so that you can differentiate yourself from them. You want to offer something that is different from what your competition is doing.
If you passionately provide high quality mobility vehicles to seniors to help them travel with dignity because you want to honor them during their sunset years—and not just make a buck—then you will set your company apart from your competition. Your motives will show through and your customers will be attracted to you because of the purpose behind what you do.
Don’t get so focused on what your competition is doing that you forget what makes you unique. It’s more important for you to focus on who you are, how you do what you do, and why you do what you do. Being the best version of your unique company will set you apart from your competition. By knowing your company well and the unique benefit you provide will help you create a distinctive brand.
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Robert McFarland is the author of the bestsellers, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew and Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew. Robert is also President of Transformational Impact LLC, a leadership development consultancy helping companies be who they say they are by making their ideals actionable at the nexus of brand and culture.
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