Say Something New
About Your Brand
For years, standing out in the building products industry meant having quality products, convincing sales people and good customer service. Location was helpful, and a snazzy catalog could put you over the top.
But today, virtually every brand has those things and MORE. Without a clear differentiator, all you’re left with to motivate buyers is price. Yikes!
So how do you break out of the pack? How do you engage customers and create fans? Positioning. Understanding who you are as a brand and how you’re making customers’ lives better—then communicating that uniqueness in a way that resonates with your audience. Here’s how:
1. Really Get to Know Your Customers
Once and for all, define your audience by more than just basic demographics. You know … “buyers, primarily male, 30-55, college grads, located in the southwestern U.S.” Get more specific.
• What are their pasttimes?
• What groups do they belong to?
• How do they like to communicate?
• What’s their favorite blog or eNews?
• What do they fear or dread?
• What do they love/hate most about their job?
These little details can make a big difference in HOW and WHEN you share information and in how they respond. Get inside your customers’ heads to build a better thru-way to their hearts.
2. Uncover Your Brand’s Story
For HP® it was the legendary garage. For Nike® it was Phil Knight and a waffle iron. For FELT®, it was a girl, a Mac and a dream to help companies communicate more effectively. What’s your story? Revisit your brand’s DNA and take advantage of the rich threads of your fiber. Chances are, those are a big part of what made you great.
One of my favorite stories is that of Craig Sommerfeld, the founder of Kreg® Tool Company. By developing a specialized jig, Sommerfeld reinvented the way woodworkers and contractors join wood—and positioned Kreg as the leader in Pocket Hole Technology.
Kreg® doesn’t just have customers, they have a loyal following. Fans. They “Get you started. Keep it simple. And help you grow.” Their success starts with their story, but doesn’t stop after the sale. Kreg® is saying something different. Uncover your brand’s story and SHARE IT.
3. Connect the Dots
Think about your brand’s story—its uniqueness—in the context of your customers’ wants and needs. Find that all-important connection and you go from generalist to specialist, lickety split. You have the basis for a new marketing message, a positioning statement that can serve as a guide for all your marketing efforts; maybe even a whole new category.
What’s the best vehicle for communicating your positioning? Your tagline, website, catalog and ad campaigns are logical places to start. But let your message be your guide: Is it more motivating to see a tool or watch a tool in action on video? And don’t forget your audience research. If your buyers are congregating in online user forums or flocking to demos on the trade show floor, look for opportunities to be heard. Sponsorships, community involvement and outreach are just a few. Then say something new.
Apple®. Dell®. Target®. Titleist®. Volkswagen®. Great brands that are truly interested in leading their customers are doing so by positioning themselves as specialists, then conveying that expertise through genuine, intelligent and engaging conversations. They talk with their audience, not at them. And they’re chosen based on benefit, NOT on price.
Are you leading or following?
Here’s to saying something new ABOUT YOUR BRAND.
Allison DeFord, Trailblazer