Leader of the Pack: Don’t let your brand be bland
When you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes. You end up trudging along, following the safe path of those who have already been there and done that. You never take any risk. But, the downside—no risk, no reward!
I hear tales of woe from a lot of people about how they have little brand recognition. They are doing the same things that their competitors are doing, following that same, tried and true path, but gaining no purchase in the potential customers’ minds.
It's because the lead dog, or first in market, gets locked into the customer’s mind as “the” go-to source for that product or service. The rest of the pack pick up the scraps. The well trodden path becomes a slippery slope on which the followers will always struggle to hold market position and have little hope of gain.
If you hold your position while others are moving forward, you are losing ground. (Dizzy yet?) So what’s the remedy? How do you get your brand recognized and remembered?
- First, know your value. Everyone knows the features of their products or service, but few can articulate their value. For example, if you are a financial advisor, your feature is that you have 20 years of experience in banking and asset management. Your benefit is that you are well versed in compiling a portfolio tailored to your client’s needs. Your value is structuring their financially sound and stress-free next 50 years. [Maybe the tagline is “Get your assets in gear!”…but I digress.]
- Define your brand. If it’s foggy to you, it’s dense as pea soup to everyone else. Make it a snap for people to understand what you do, what it does for them, and why it’s the better, faster, smarter, cooler choice.
- Don’t be tentative about what your brand stands for. Take a stand. Not everyone will agree with you, but they will remember and talk about you. If you live in fear of alienating anyone, you will also fail to appeal to the right ones. Case in point: Big Ass Fans. They really are.
- Be loud and proud with your brand. Know it. Own it. Work it. Wallflowers aren’t winners.
When you discover your value, you realize that even though your product or service may be similar to your competitors, it's your value that sets you apart. Don’t be bland with your brand. Step out of the pack. Let your freak flag fly. Help customers experience your brand in all its glory. Lead on and open your eyes to a whole new view.