This is a guest post from David Brier. His information is below. If you’d like to submit a guest post, click here.
There’s a problem in the world of business today, a problem that impacts every brand, every day. It’s something businesses notice without really understanding what it is. Or how to overcome it.
The Source of Your Troubles
So much money is wastefully spent generating little if any awareness with messages that blend in rather than stand out. Simply put, it’s getting harder to be heard in a world that’s just too busy to listen.
You deserve a brand and a message that connects with your audience, catapulting your brand from commodity status to a must-have.
Is the answer to cut back? Yes and no.
Cutting back on the stupid useless missteps, yes. This includes confusing content with channels of communication (in other words, social media is not a strategy anymore than having a TV commercial is. More on that in another article.)
But cutting back on a well conceived branding and marketing plan with spunk that goes for the gold? A resounding no. Like the business guru Peter Drucker stated, “You can’t shrink your way to greatness.”
The first place to start is by recognizing the “signs” that will lead one down the road to branding hell—the ideas and fool-hardy notions that literally will suck the life out of your brand.
In no particular order, here they are.
1. When in Doubt, Do What the “Big Boys” Are Doing
2. Be Professional, Not Magical (In Other Words, Don’t Shoot for Moon When You’ve Got Swiss Cheese in the Frig)
3. Doing Something Original Will Backfire
When in Doubt, Do What the “Big Boys” Are Doing
Creating a brand is about creating something that will stand out and be recognized for its differences. To copy what the leaders in your industry are doing will only serve to remind prospective customers about them, not you and your unique attributes.
What to do? List out what the leaders are doing and then isolate what you can offer that they aren’t offering. Something that may be more of a niche, or a better way to deliver a similar product, or a better designed user experience.
Be Professional, Not Magical
This is the ultimate trap: focusing on being professional, proper and corporate. In some schools of thought, those words “proper” and “corporate” are dirty words and liabilities. Take a page from Sir Richard Branson of Virgin: Be bold and dare to do something magical. Or like Seth Godin would put it: Be remarkable.
What to do? Establish what is the average, usual and acceptable. Then figure out how to raise the bar. You can even ask yourself what Seth Godin, Richard Branson or Steve Jobs might say or do in your particular industry.
Doing Something Original Will Backfire
Whoever said this was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Did you ever realize that what we take for granted today as ordinary and usual started out as an original idea?
- The Eiffel Tower was laughed at and criticized when construction was complete, yet is now one of France’s most revered landmarks.
- The Beatles were rejected by the Decca record label (since guitar music was “on its way out”) before changing the world of music (and music sales) forever.
- Apple broke all the rules with their unique gallery-like retail stores to become the most profitable destination in the retail world.
- This list can be expanded to everything from fire, to toilet paper to the invention of electricity and the phone.
What to do? Brainstorm with some friends who bring new viewpoints to what you want to solve, and very likely some originality will surely surface. Initially some of it may sound crazy, but so did the idea of transporting one’s voice over a distance as touted by Alexander Graham Bell.
When Golden Rules Should Be Traded in for Cash
So anytime anyone suggests you follow some of the above “golden rules,” doing the opposite might be your best strategy yet.
About the author: David Brier is Chief Gravity Defyer of DBD International and the author of branding bible for those sick and tired of average results: Defying Gravity and Rising Above the Noise. You can follow David on twitter here.