Your brand: grand or bland?

Helen Savage of Brouha Marketing looks at what makes a brand successful and how brand management can make a real difference to the bottom line.

In our hyper-competitive world, standing out from the crowd has never been more important. To make headway in a flatline economy, businesses need to reconsider how they’re perceived in their markets. Are you just one of a crowd offering good but indistinguishable products? Or do you have a distinctive offer, brand, and personality that people recognise and want to be involved with?

B2B providers flourish when they’re clear about the essence of their offer and have a strong sense of purpose. Differentiation can bring them huge benefits, helping businesses to outstrip competitors, take ownership of their market, and redefine the way an industry is perceived.

Whole sectors of business services have been transformed by differentiated offers. For example: McDonalds turned food production into a science through automation, training us to expect consistency from our food; Apple’s modern, simple and aesthetically pleasing packaging created desire and aspiration for simplicity; and Mailchimp has taken a fresh approach to an old challenge, and its corporate body language stands out from its more stodgy rivals with its chimp logo, cartoon graphics, easy-to-navigate website and simple slogan (‘sell more stuff’).

Today, if a company truly wants to create effective and disruptive campaigns, harnessing earned, owned, and paid media channels must play an important part in the overall communications strategy. That is the definition of forward-thinking in the world of communications in 2018 and beyond. The norm of 12 or 24 months ago won’t work now. That’s how fast the landscape is changing.

Ideally, your digital presence should be integrated seamlessly with your offline communications. Yes, this is still important, even in an increasingly digital world. It’s an area that is all too often ignored as online channels become increasingly competitive, but companies that employ a fully integrated approach will inevitably cast a wider net than those solely focused on one or the other.

Above all, no matter where it lives, content is still the vital part of any strategic brand campaign. When it is done right, content can be the most powerful way to harness your marketing communications, on or offline, to maximum effect.

“The best brands are built on great stories,” said Ian Rowden, chief marketing officer at Virgin. Thinking of your marketing communications as a means of telling your story is useful. If you want to build a successful, sustainable business, and a brand that will garner loyalty, you have to start with your story. If you don’t have a story you are just another commodity. You have no way to differentiate your brand or your business.

Creating a brand story is not simply about standing out and getting noticed with a one hit wonder campaign that gets talked about for a few days and then forgotten. It’s about building something that people care about and want to buy into. It’s a long-term commitment to a way of doing business that creates loyalty among customers. Your story is the foundation of your brand and a strategy for future growth.

Standing out from the crowd with a brand story unique to your business makes it easier to trigger conversations with prospects, as a unique proposition will pique their interest. The only way of really knowing if you’re getting it right though is to analyse sales and establish to what extent customers are attracted by your marketing approach, and to what extent the differentiated offer is helping you retain customers. Measuring the financial benefits is essential in making sure your marketing strategy is working for your business.

If you need help getting your story out to the market place in a fresh and innovative way, you can employ a professional PR and marketing agency to help guide you through the process or, in some cases, take on the full function of a marketing department for your business. Make sure you choose one that fits with your business and who you believe will do your brand story justice.