Recognize when your brand is unrecognizable.
Have you ever perused the websites of large wireless providers? Or really watched and listened to one of their ads? That’s ok, because they tend to all say the same thing — essentially, they all claim to have the most reliable network, best gadgets and amazing deals on multi-device service packages. We’d like to say that this is an exception to the rule, but in reality, it’s not. You see this herd mentality infiltrating advertising in a lot of industries.
The root problem comes when companies and brands start listening more to their competitors than to their audience. They get caught up in the race to showcase services or products in comparison to, or contrasting from, their competitors instead of pushing beyond that and understanding what really matters to their current or potential customers.
How to know when you’re part of the pack
The first step on the road to brand recognition is acknowledging when you need to make a change. It’s hard to be honest with yourself. It’s hard to admit that the price difference between your product and the competition isn’t enough to conquer inertia and lure customers who are on auto-pilot.
Take time to really compare your brand tone and advertising approach to your competition. Look at your messaging and your competitors’ messaging in side-by-side comparisons. Be prepared to be brutally honest with yourself. If you can’t do that, ask the brutally honest people in your organization to be part of the evaluation.
If the competitive analysis tells you everyone is talking about the same thing, your brand is not working as hard as it could or should for you. You all just have products or services that you advertise.
Breaking away from the herd
Embrace the discomfort that comes with setting aside the routine and reliable branding and advertising tactics. Find a fresh way to tell your story — no matter what the competition is saying. Talk to your customers or clients about what they crave and about who you are. If you’re too close to it, work with a branding expert to help look at your brand from outside in vs. inside out. That’s when you’ll stop simply creating ads and start realizing your brand.
Leaders gain loyalty
To bring it full-circle, tell us: Can you say that you’re LOYAL to any one cellular provider? Verizon? US Cellular? Sprint? Even the brand with which you currently get service? Likely not. That’s in large part because there’s not much to distinguish one provider from another.
When you start heading in a new direction with your company messaging and your brand, you’ll stand out. You’ll stand for something. You’ll be a leader. And that’s invaluable when trying to gain loyal customers.