We live in an age of “brand bombardment”, of brand slogan overload, where everyone is jostling for consumer attention. Never before have consumers been bombarded with so many brand promises, propositions and extrovert brand messages in every aspect of their lives.
When they switch on their TV, log in to their social media accounts, whilst browsing websites, when waiting for a train, even when checking their email, brands are clamouring, pushing and shoving, for their attention.
The messages and brand promises are all starting to sound and look very “samey”, blurring into each other – and those that do stand out, only capture momentary attention and are failing to make an enduring impact.
Brands looking to win new customers are doing so in increasingly crowded market places where consumer attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.
This is something that I’m sure resonates with many businesses for whom strategic growth, expanding into new markets and increasing market share is a priority. So what strategy should a business adopt to make it’s mark and stand out from the crowd?
Traditional approaches to branding, marketing and advertising may advocate that he (or she) who shouts the loudest wins and I’m sure for many businesses this strategy has yielded some benefit; but I would like to advocate an alternative subtler approach that I believe will stand out and be more rewarding in the long term.
Simplicity and sincerity in your branding can attract and holds the attention of consumers equally well, if not better than louder, more “extrovert” approaches. I am not in any way advocating that your business’s brand strategy needs to be an introvert one. But sometimes a “quiet confidence” can be a lot more effective and appealing than “Brand Bravado” that often has very little substance.
So how can YOUR business harness this in the way it defines itself, shapes its brand offering and wins new clients?
DRILL DOWN TO YOUR CORE VALUES
It’s important to decide what you are, who you are, what makes your business TRULY unique and then excel at it and be able to communicate it succinctly and sincerely.
Discover what your clients and customers love about your brand and what sets you apart from your competitors – and shape your brand communications around that.
So many “Unique Selling Propositions” actually lack uniqueness because they are emulating a competitor’s brand position. Be “real”, be authentic, be you and it will be relatively intuitive to shape a brand personality and messages that have a stand out factor and immediately resonate with your target audience.
STAND FOR SOMETHING (GOOD)
Leading on from the previous point, I would like to advocate that at their core, brands should be ambassadors for something bigger and better than their bottom line.
Take a stance, stand up for something which improves your industry, your customers lives or even the world at large in some way.
Of course in business, sales and profits are paramount but if you can demonstrate that you stand up for something aside from that, your brand will gain a standout factor. No one has demonstrated this more adeptly than brands like Innocent Smoothies, Pret A Manger and The Body Shop.
Whilst it takes some effort and integrity to integrate this into your brand offering, you can create a strong position in a crowded market place by delivering unadulterated raw goodness to your business, your clients and the world around you.
CUT OUT THE NOISE IN YOUR BRAND COMMUNICATIONS
Once you’ve established a position for your brand, you need to harness intelligent, sincere and subtle communication and design to communicate your core brand messages through all your consumer touch points.
Don’t dilute the purity of your brand with unwanted embellishments. Distil all communications down to their purest form. Without necessarily reverting to minimalism, less certainly can be more.
Avoid the lure of resorting to pretentious marketing speak, you will simply blur into the crowd again. Resist the temptation to veer away from your core values to something you are not, simply to stay on trend. Trends fade, authentic, sincere and unique brand personalities make their mark and endure.
ALLOW YOUR BRAND’S STORY TO EVOLVE
Staying rooted in your cores values does not mean that your brand should remain static. Continue to offer your consumers the unexpected in a way that allows your brand to evolve and remain “fresh”, in a way that genuinely benefits your target audience, without being gimmicky
Think of new ways to communicate with your target audience, but never let who you are fade from the picture. Keep your brand’s “sense of self” central to your story line at all times. Apple is a prime example of a brand that has stayed fresh, at the forefront of technological innovation whilst never losing focus of or diluting it’s core brand identity, values and proposition.
WIN HEARTS AS WELL AS MINDS
With their focus on “grabbing attention”, so many brands concentrate on trying to appeal to the intellect with smart messages, gimmicky offers and quirky design concepts and in doing so they forget that buying decisions are made with emotions as well.
Brands can forge longer term feelings, opinions and associations in customers’ minds by appealing to their emotions, values and re-enforcing their beliefs – and nothing does that better than a brand which customers believe is sincere and authentic.
A claim can always be mimicked, but an emotional “sweet spot” is something your brand can occupy all by itself and in doing so, win the hearts and minds of your target audience.
In conclusion, creating this kind of brand strategy requires a paradigm shift in thinking; we’ve all been conditioned to think of branding, marketing and business development as “grabbing attention”.
When trying to shape your business’s brand strategy and communications, it may be wise to remember that empty vessels often make the most noise. Be smart, be unique and be “real”. By reinforcing your core values your brand will gain a position that attracts customers and doesn’t need to grab attention.
If you’d like to discuss how your branding, website and marketing strategy can empower your business and increase your sales and profits, please call us on 020 7993 4477 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to advise how