- When kids put together their lists for Santa this year, do you think they will be asking for “an MP3 player”, or will they ask for “an iPod”?
- Did Microsoft have the same impact with the Zune?
- How is the iPhone impacting competitors phone sales?
- What would you think of a search engine that did not rank Apple for the term?
When you create a powerful brand you not only gain recognition and mind share, you change the rules of the game in your favor. The whole market place has to react, you cause competitors to change strategy, the media to take notice, and prospects to change their demands.
I would argue that creating a lasting brand is your single most important goal. Everything you do, from content to answering emails works towards your brand. Do not think you can rely on tricks and short cuts. As Aaron says, even Social Media has its dangers.
To make maximum impact it is not enough to just improve on the existing status quo, you have to cause a real shift in the way prospects think. It has to be done in a way that makes your brand stand alone as a shining example of what matters. Compare the lame razor market where each year they add a blade (how, um, innovative) to the disruption Dyson caused when he launched a bag-less vacuum cleaner.
Although most consumers see iPod and MP3 player as synonymous, Apples product was not the first and nor was it particularly revolutionary in terms of technology. It had some great features and an innovative interface, but it was the whole strategy in combination that made the difference. The iPod succeeded because it combined the required features in an elegant package. As much fashion as technology, it visibly fit how the prospects thought of themselves, it practically marketed itself. If you went to market with just another MP3 player, what would customers think? Do people think Microsoft’s Zune is something new and fresh? I would argue most people think of it as “an attempt at an iPod killer”, ie. to describe the Zune people compare it to the iPod.
Now Apple is doing the same thing over again with the iPhone. It’s not the first smartphone, not even the best in many ways, but the loyal Apple customer base combined with a radical user interface has won over many USA customers and is likely to succeed in Europe eventually (once some niggles are worked out).
Once you have one success, and a growing base of happy customers, the next success becomes that bit easier.
Another brand that fits the prospects world view is Starbucks. It isn’t just another coffee shop. The stores are decorated and planned more like a theater set than a shop. Your prospects have to think “this suits me”. Starbucks created atmosphere, pricing and product that key into a desire in the prospect for perceived quality and sophistication. Now what would people say if you wanted to open just another coffee shop?
How do you use these ideas in your own marketing and promotion?
- Know your prospect – What are the key motivations and self-image of the people you are aiming for?
- Know yourself – How do your own attributes overlap with those of your audience?
- What can you do differently? – You are looking for something disruptive, not just “better”. What are the conventions and how can you break them?
- How can your point of difference benefit? – What will prospects gain by your difference? Different for the sake of it will not work, people need to see how much better your new way is for them.
- How can you get the idea to spread? – It is no good being different but isolated, what can you do to make your brand viral?
Look around for examples and learn from them. Who is unique? What are the conventions, how are those conventions changing?
Today I would say the most unique blog is Successful-blog, Liz has changed the rules for how a blog should be. Conventions in blogging are very different to only a few years ago. First Darren made it OK to talk about earning money as a blogger, then John Chow has taken commercialism and made it a virtue.
When we launched Performancing, multi-author blogs were unusual, as were blogs with a forum, now those ideas are so common as to not warrant noticing. That said Performancing has survived unlike some other more unfortunate sites launched at the same time. The key is the community. Being unique is not enough, you have to gain loyalty. Know what is considered radical today will be the minimum standard tomorrow, you have to keep moving forward and keep your audience with you.
Gather your prospects and have them feel part of something. Focus on giving those people the very best experience and they will reward you.
What sort of people does your brand attract and why? How can you serve those particular people better? Is there a word or phrase you can use to describe those people or that activity?
Table of contents for Better Blog Branding
- Better Blog Branding: What’s In a Name?
- Better Blog Branding: 10 Ways To Destroy Your Brand
- Better Blog Branding: Domain Exclusivity
- Better Blog Branding: Is Your Brand Breaking Promises?
- Better Blog Branding: Finding Your Uniqueness
- Better Blog Branding: How to Stand Out By Being First
- Better Blog Branding: Your Blogs Hidden Messages
- Better Blog Branding: Your Successful Brand
- Branding and Changing the Rules of the Game
- Naming Your Blog: How to Create Catchy Blog Names
- What Are You Saying Between the Lines?