Before I write the story of your brand, I’ll ask what makes your company unique. We start with a list of attributes and service commitments that make your company shine. We work to uncover the core brand promise that’s not being delivered by other companies in your category. All communications flow from this discovery process. This phase is enlightening and it can be a lot of fun. But it’s not easy.
What makes your company unique? What is it that secures long-term customer relationships and enthusiastic referrals? Please don’t tell me it’s friendly customer service. Why would I say this? Because there are attributes you simply cannot own. You’ll never be able to use as differentiators what every business in your category must offer simply to stay in business. Let’s look at an example.
Say you offer a courier service. It’s a baseline expectation that anyone in this business will deliver packages on time, in good condition, at a fair price, with courteous service. Now, you may have heard that one of your rivals has unfriendly drivers. This doesn’t mean you can differentiate your business by saying your delivery personnel are “less rude.” Consumers will do the work for you on this front. They’ll be more than happy to tell the world about your competitor’s deficiencies. The point is, your uniqueness needs to make you stand out from the basic expectations in the category.
How do you know what your unique attributes should be? There are at least three places you can look for answers.
First, ask your customers. Find out what they value most about your services. If your customers write reviews on Yelp, comb through them to find consistencies in what they have to say. If you have ongoing clients, ask what it is they say to friends when they recommend you.
The next place to find your uniqueness is by studying your competitors. What is it they’re not providing that can be value added for your customers? It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be something simple – a way to delight your customers that the competitors would have a hard time copying.
Finally, look at yourself. Because in the end, what makes your service stand out is what energizes and excites you. It’s going to be an authentic expression of the reason you got into this business in the first place.
The stories you tell in your marketing materials – whether they’re case studies, blog articles, or product descriptions – should be infused with the messages that make your company stand out.
Give me a call when you’re ready to uncover the uniqueness that’s the core of your business.
Copyright Liz Behlke 2018