4 Keys to Having Your Brand Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace
By Linda Gearke
Standing out in a crowded marketplace. That’s one of the biggest challenges most of us face today as freelancers and solopreneurs. How does your brand become the obvious choice?
Ultimately, a brand is what makes you unique and desirable in the hearts, minds and eyes of your customers. Creating a successful brand is about connecting with your customers, knowing specifically who you are and what you represent, and above all, knowing what’s important to them!
Here are some actionable, hopefully game-changing ideas for you in building your brand….
1) Get clear about your Unique Selling Advantage (USA).
A Unique Selling Advantage (USA), defines your company’s Brand Position in the marketplace. It is an often overlooked but very important element of creating a product that customers love. In order to develop a strong USA, it’s important to closely examine the needs and wants of your ideal customer.
A strong USA enables you to stand apart from competitors and actively focus your attention on things that cater to your ideal group of customers. Having a unique selling point—even one that ostracizes some prospective customers—is a highly competitive advantage that allows you to avoid the trap of trying to please everyone. That is why it is so important to first define your target market— your ideal group of customers. You simply cannot sell to everyone. Don’t worry about whether your mother will buy your product…unless she is one of those in your target market!
2) Define your brand’s position in the marketplace.
As stated above, once you are clear about your USA, it will be easy to define your brand’s position.
Brand Positioning is defined as the way by which marketers attempt to create a distinct impression in the consumer’s mind. It is a perception that happens in the minds of the target market—the predominant audience for your products. It is the aggregate perception the market has of a particular product or service in relation to their view of the competitors in the same category. Identifying your point of view, what you care about, and why you’re offering your product all define your brand’s position.
- Identifying the business’s direct competition.
- Understanding how each competitor is positioning their business today (e.g. claiming to be the fastest, cheapest, largest, the #1 provider, etc.
- Defining your product’s or service’s own positioning as it exists today.
- Comparing the company’s positioning to its competitors’ to identify viable areas for differentiation.
- Developing a distinctive, differentiating market niche.
- Creating a positioning statement with key messages that relate to customer values, which will be used for marketing communications development across the board.
The brand positioning process involves:
3) Differentiate your product.
Differentiation helps your product be remembered in a crowded marketplace. While a superior product and unparalleled customer service are the foundation for growing any successful company, differentiation is imperative in order to have a Unique Selling Advantage.
Differentiation is what a company can hang its hat on that no other business can. For some companies this is being the least expensive. Other companies credit themselves with being the first or the fastest. Whatever it is a business can use to stand out from the rest is called differentiation.
4) Create an emotional connection with your customer.
Most think that customers make buying decisions with a rational approach, analyzing details like features and cost. While this is true to a degree, over 50% of a buyer’s product choice is based on emotions. Emotions and values shape the attitudes that drive decisions and behavior.
All buyers are influenced by their emotions. They just may not realize it. How customers care about your product may be unconscious, but these unconscious feelings can have a very concrete impact on your business. Emotional connections can determine the strength and length of a customer relationship. They drive passion, loyalty and personal promotion of your product or service.
How a company makes us feel determines our opinions about it and our buying decisions. It is more psychological than logical. And, more unconscious than conscious.
Take the example of Walmart and Macy’s.
Walmart appeals on an emotional level to consumers shopping for the lowest price on an item. Whereas Macy’s appeals to consumers interested in quality, first and foremost. There’s as much a sense of pride and satisfaction in a Walmart shopper for getting a good deal as there is in a Macy’s shopper for bringing home an item of highest quality. Thus, they are both emotionally satisfied customers.
Once you’ve defined your brand’s USA and Brand Position, differentiated your product, and learned how to emotionally connect with your customer, you are well on your way to having your product or service stand out in a crowded market place.
Linda Gearke is a global developer and marketer of personal care products and is the owner of Strictly Personal – The Personal Care Marketing Experts. Linda has more than 19 years of experience in the development, technology assessment, branding and marketing of skin care, hair care and bath and body products. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org