The Thinking Behind Stand-Out Brands

Now more than ever, 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: growth, maturity or decline. 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 decline. And, if you’re in decline, you’re looking at a major kick-start or revamp.

To determine where your business is, have a look at the 4 Critical Brand Factors Vitality Checklist we turn to.

1. What differentiates you from the competition? Is it your ingredients, manufacturing, product offering or service? Or is it the extrinsic qualities your target market perceives? The stronger your product’s intrinsic differentiator, the easier it is to stand out from the herd.
2. How relevant are you and your products? If you aren’t relevant, 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. What is the measure of esteem with which your target market regards your brand? While influenced by how you position and communicate your brand’s character, esteem is often built from touch points — from marketing to purchase environment to product/service experience to after sale & support engagement.
4. What knowledge does your target market have about your character and story? Aspects of your story combine to convey what makes you different; how and why you fulfil an existing need; and whether your brand is worthy of your consumer’s or client’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 increased 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, and by focussing on its differentiator, communicating it in a way that is clear, and showing how relevant it is, the company is increasing market’s knowledge of the product and building its brand esteem.

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

Not all brands have products that are easily differentiated. Some have to find another way to stand out. Our client STBB is a legal firm in a competitive market set. It differentiates itself in a field with a highly structured process by focussing on its extrinsic difference: It offers more than just the paperwork. This implies expertise and service.

What is the secret to brand design that ticks the boxes of the three most important questions brand owners and managers should be continually asking: What will help me stand out from my competitors, increase my sales and strengthen my customer relationships?

We believe the secret is…do a brand health check. Take the time to understand what your brand is made up of and the qualities it’s built, to ascertain where it lies in its business cycle; then understand and foresee how markets are changing.

In a complex world, it is difficult for clients to manage their products and services and look after their branding. As a brand agency, we can assist 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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