The thinking behind stand-out brands

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The thinking behind stand-out brands

The business world is more competitive than ever. That’s why it’s critical to have your finger on the pulse of your brand’s health at all times. This means knowing where your business lies within its life cycle. Is it growing, has it hit a plateau, or is it reaching the end? If you’re growing, you want to sustain that. If you’re on a plateau, you need to look at reinvigorating so that you don’t lose momentum. And, if you’re in decline, you’re looking at a major kick-start or revamp.

To determine where your business is, consider the checklist of four Critical Brand Vitality Factors.

1. What differentiates you from the competition? Is it your ingredients, manufacturing, product offering or service? Or does your target market respond to other external qualities? The stronger your product’s intrinsic differentiator, the easier it is to stand head and shoulders above the competition.

2. How relevant are you and your products? If your products and services are no longer relevant to your market, you run the risk of going from hero to zero in a very short time. Likewise, actively engaging with market needs today and tomorrow, can quickly catapult your brand from zero to hero.

3. Does your target market hold your brand in high esteem? While influenced by how you position and communicate your brand’s character, esteem is often built from touch points. These are every point that your customer experiences in your business, from your marketing to the buying process, the way they use your product or service, to the after sales and support engagement.

4. What does your target market know about your character and story? Aspects of your story combine to convey what makes you different. These aspects include how and why you fulfil an existing need; and whether your brand is worthy of your customer’s admiration.

The first two aspects – differentiator and relevance – are the lead core characteristics of brand health. If you are in a growth cycle, you usually have strong differentiators and relevance.

To give you an example, our financial services client brings a new offering in the investment category. The company has completely changed the investment model so that investors have greater access to a single investment portfolio at a significantly lower cost.

Their differentiator? Higher returns for less effort.

Their relevance? The average investor does not have time to engage with complicated options and fee structures.

This company is definitely in a growth cycle. By focusing on its differentiator, communicating it clearly, and demonstrating its relevance, the company is increasing the market’s knowledge of the product and building its brand esteem.

Successful branding impacts a business’s overall vitality. Differentiator and relevance lead. And then, through strong content, brand language and design, you build esteem and knowledge.

However, not all brands can easily differentiate their products. Some have to find another way to stand out. Our client, STBB, is a legal firm in a competitive market. It differentiates itself in a field with a highly structured process by focusing on its extrinsic difference. STBB’s differentiator is that it offers more than just the paperwork. This implies expertise and service.

Brand owners and managers should continually ask themselves how they can tick the boxes to all four questions. Ask: what will help me stand out from my competitors, increase my sales and strengthen my customer relationships?

The answer is to do a brand health check. Take the time to understand what makes your brand and its stand-out qualities. This will help to ascertain where it lies in its business cycle, and to develop a deeper understanding of  markets are changing.

In a complex world, it is difficult for clients to manage their products and services while also giving their brand the deep consideration it deserves. As a brand agency, we can help brands to look introspectively and give advice that is based on where they are in their business cycle. Then, we see the process through by applying strategy accordingly, to make sure their business aspirations are aligned to their brand strategy.

Simply put, we make winning in a complex world easy.

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