Cornell University defines brand as “a set of perceptions and images that represent a company, product, or service.“ In a previous blog, we’ve discussed the fact that some people think brand is comprised of a logo. A logo is definitely part of an organization’s brand, but many other factors are also included. This means brand voice, values, differentiators, target audience, positioning, value proposition, and imagery—including logo and typeset.
Bottom line: your brand is your story.
So, how can I make my brand stand out?
Differentiation is how we share our unique value proposition in a way that sets us apart. Leveraging your brand story with potential attributes, benefits, and images that make clients want to buy your product or use your service is important. Your specific value and how your differences bring solutions to your prospective clients will make your offer compelling.
Let’s explore an example of differentiation using Ritz-Carlton. This upscale hotel chain conjures themes of world-class customer service, smartly decorated spaces, and an air of luxury. When discussed at a recent marketing presentation, attendees also used words including “expensive” and “out of my price range.” However, the key differentiation between the Ritz-Carlton and other luxe hotels is the fact that employees are not only allowed—they are encouraged—to do whatever possible to make the guests’ stay the best. This excellent customer experience is what sets the Ritz-Carlton apart globally.
As a boutique marketing firm, we’ve had to further hone in on what our differentiation is. One of our three key offers is something we call “strategic storytelling.” Simply put, this is what we do best. Clients have told us they appreciate how we can quickly understand their businesses and then share their brand stories via the right channels to the target audience.
“We partnered with Shan to revitalize an existing campaign. While I was initially drawn to her branding and knew it would be a great fit for our messaging, I was impressed by her communication skills and quick understanding of my business. I would recommend Shan Bates, LLC to any business with strategic marketing needs.” — Lori Wilkinson, VP, Distinct Benefits and Brown & Brown Insurance of Nevada, Inc.
The Old Adage of WIIFM
We know strategic storytelling is a big part of the value we bring our customers. But you can also use it within your business. How can you leverage this if you’re not a storytelling fantastic? You must be absolutely clear about who you are and why that matters to customers. The concept of WIIFM—or “what’s in it for me”—is very important when you’re messaging your brand. What is the story, and why does it matter for your target audience?
When a prospective customer visits your website, he or she must be able to tell immediately what your business offers and why it’s of value to him or her. If your value proposition is “below the fold” or not apparent at first glance, it’s a missed opportunity to share your brand story. If your social media channels don’t educate about your differentiation, it isn’t an ideal part of a cohesive message.
We can help you take your brand story and strategically share it with the right audience in a way that is meaningful to them. This is what sets us apart; let us help you do the same with your business. It’s a win/win.