We want to stand out from the competition. And nobody knows better than you, the business owner, why you deserve to. You’ve worked endlessly hard to bring products or services to life that solve your customers’ problems, you have great customer service, and your pricing is fair.
But… how do you translate this into true brand differentiation? That, my friends, is where this post comes in. What follows is some advice and digital marketing ideas to get you headed in the right direction so you’ll beat out the competition, fair and square… and for good.
What’s your brand’s personality?
People buy from people – at least when possible. Of course e-commerce and text-based purchases have made people-free transactions the norm, but people still want to buy from a company they like. Even if they don’t know you personally, they still have a perception of you. Your website, your customer service representatives, and your products/services have already spilled the beans on who you are. The question is… did those things spill the beans positively?
One way to find out is by secret shopping. Have team members or friends and family take turns going through your business’ customer journey. Ask them to fill out web forms and call your business number. Then, collect what they find out. You might be surprised. Maybe you thought your company had a funny, sarcastic vibe but your secret shoppers tell you it comes across as downright rude. Oops. That’s certainly important to know.
Then, secret shop your competitors. What do you find? What differs? It matters because your customers will be doing the same. Price alone won’t be your brand differentiation; customer experience will. When interested buyers first interact with your business, they’ll make a judgment about you based on the personality they feel your brand has. Either your business is fun, warm, helpful and experienced, or it’s cold, boring and some other adjectives you don’t want to be. You need to know where this stands currently, so you know whether it needs to change.
Consistency might seem like something odd to call out here, but it matters – a lot. In fact, researchers have found that presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. Many companies think they’re consistent, but oftentimes they’re mistaken. They may have different photos on each of their social media profiles, or give their team members flexibility with their email signatures. But these seemingly minor things do your brand a major disservice. They allow your buyers to forget about your brand. If you want to differentiate from competitors, you must keep these things strong and consistent.
Make sure you’ve trained your employees on your company tone and personality (see step one above), and that everyone on your team understands your core values and mission. Make sure your social media posts, blog posts, paid ads, email communications, website, and everything else a customer might see aligns around these key things. It might seem boring to be so repetitive, but being repetitive is necessary. Repetition is the only way to forge brand awareness – and therefore brand differentiation.
Explore an uncharted approach.
We always recommend being smart with your budget, which means crafting a strategy around your target customers. But, just because you’ve zeroed in on your customer personas doesn’t mean you have to get stuck in a rut with your digital marketing ideas. In other words… we’re inviting you to unleash your creativity! We have a hunch you’ll like the results.
Maybe you’ve tried social media ads and had some success, but never explored Google Ads or SEO strategies. What’s holding you back? Also, don’t write off more traditional marketing measures like billboards or trade show sponsorship (once trade shows start coming back), because they can be extremely effective.
Always connect your marketing tactics to your overarching goals and what you know about your personas, but within those confines, get creative and try new things. The key is to keep trying and keep testing. You want your name to be everywhere your competitors are, and – even more importantly – everywhere your competitors are not.
Ready to show your personality to your buyers, create a consistent brand experience and get creative? We’re here to help!