Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is Your Brand Really Different?

Branding a product or service based on differentiated attributes or features is not a new concept...yet so many companies get it wrong.

To be unique, a brand needs to 1) Be important to the target audience, 2) Meet a need or promote a brand promise not currently being used by a competitor and 3) Be supported by company strengths and/or processes.

Typically in branding, the brand tries to own only one or two key benefits or attributes. The more complicated a brand promise or brand message, the less likely a consumer is to remember it. We need simple yet powerful concepts that consumers can and will relate to.

Below are some possible ways to differentiate a brand. Keep in mind that choosing several of these and lumping them together will not be advisable. Again, focusing on one or two key areas is best.

* Brand is a category leader (Crest)
* Brand is a category inventor (Sensodyne - toothpaste for sensitive teeth)
* Brand was a pioneer in a market - Ford, Coca-Cola
* Brand is the category innovator (Toyota, Dell)
* Brand is the most convenient or easy to use (Band-aid)
* Brand meets a niche need and leads at serving that niche
* Brand delivers a unique product purchase or usage experience (Apple, Dell)
* Brand is the "next big thing"
* Brand tells an engaging story about itself that consumers connect with
* Brand is trusted
* Brand is a technology leader
* Brand has unique qualities
* Brand comes from a place known for excellence in category (California Wine, Italian Olive Oil)
* Brand is the choice of experts (Tylenol, Jif)
* Brand is the best value for the cost (Wal-mart
* Brand is the definition of luxury in a category (Lexus, Rolex, etc)
* Brand is all-natural (Horizon organic milk, Kraft naturals)

Once you've adequately branded yourself based on what you and your market dictate, then you must craft marketing messages and use tactics that constantly reinforce that central brand idea.

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