It is often said that your brand should be unique in order to stand out in the market.
This is true to some extent but finding something truly unique is increasingly difficult in markets that are becoming ever more saturated.
We therefore advise our clients that instead of striving to find something that is ‘unique’, which may result in creating a brand that tries too hard to be different, loses its focus and therefore doesn’t resonate with its audience. Instead they should focus on finding their uniqueness.
Granted, there is a subtle difference between unique and uniqueness so let’s explore what we mean.
The definition of being unique is: being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.
As previously mentioned, this can be very difficult in markets that are becoming increasingly saturated.
On the other hand, having uniqueness means: the quality of being the only one of its kind.
As I said, this is a very subtle difference but what we really mean by uniqueness is in the qualities that make you different, the things that make you you.
From a branding point of view this means things like bringing your culture to the fore and focussing not on what you do but how and why you do it.
For businesses that are highly competitive on products and their features and have very little differentiation due perhaps to strict regulation this approach can be a way of creating a tangible competitive advantage.
Let’s explore five tactics that help us achieve differentiation through establishing and communicating uniqueness:
Always start with your why. The reason you do what you do is the heart of your uniqueness and will be the biggest differentiator out there.
Think hard about what really drives you personally and the wider business, what change you want to see in the world and what your vision for the future looks like.
Once you have established your vision and your why, you can build out other aspects of your brand that enable you to achieve it and that can act as differentiators for your business.
People are what make businesses different. Use your people and the culture they create to define the identity of your brand, how you do what you do and the difference they make to your customers, partners and the world through the experiences they deliver.
Often brand values can be clichés and not a very worthwhile function of a brand. However, if you align your values to your why, the culture of your team and the needs of your customers they become behavioural factors of the brand that the business lives by.
The result is that your brand will be brought to life everyday and your values will have a greater resonance with everyone your business comes in to contact with.
As we have already discussed, it is difficult for many businesses to create differentiation through product features and benefits. It is therefore increasingly important for businesses to communicate through compelling stories.
Define your brand story by communicating an understanding of your audiences needs and how your why is both aligned to these needs and helps customers overcome their challenges and realise their opportunities.
In our ever-changing world businesses are increasingly exposed to consumers. This means that they must be more and more transparent in what they promise to customers. By over promising and not delivering, brands can be quickly criticised on a global scale via social media. This negative reputation can be very difficult to overcome. Being as authentic as possible in what you promise is therefore crucial to the success of your brand and can help you stand out in the market place as customers recognise and value honesty and integrity.