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In my last post, I proposed five principles of brand differentiation:
- The goal is not “difference.” The goal is value and meaning.
- Differentiation is not something you find. It’s something you create.
- In branding, as in life, what we do matters more than what we say.
- “Best” is relative.
- Be precise with your Who. Be creative with your How.
These are the starting points. But if you’ve ever attempted to cut your own hair during a pandemic – speaking hypothetically, of course! – you know there can be a huge gap between “best intentions” and “end result.” Things go wrong along the way.
The same goes for brand differentiation. There’s the moment of inspiration, and then there’s all the hard work that comes after it.
Continue reading “Brand Differentiation: Ten Traps to Avoid”
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Harvard’s Michael Porter famously said that there are exactly two ways to compete: Cost leadership and differentiation.
Are you Walmart or Amazon? No? Then differentiation seems like the way to go.
Practical example: If you own an independent flooring store, and a Home Depot opens up half a mile away, do you really think you’re going to beat them on price? Time to start thinking about playing a game you can win.
The trouble is, many products, services and brands have no real point of difference. Which means they’re in trouble. If you’re not different, you’re dying.
So here are five “first principles” – mindset, not tactics – to help you stand out:
Continue reading “Five Principles for Creating Brand Difference”
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I woke up to
find a billing folio from the Nobis Hotel Stockholm in my inbox.
This was a
problem, since I woke up in Chicago, and I’ve never been to Stockholm.
Continue reading “Mistakes Will Happen. What Then?”
(Reading Time: < 1 minute)Why is consumer trust of marketers at an all-time low?
Because, in part, of crap like this. Continue reading “More Dirty Marketing Tricks”
(Reading Time: 2 minutes)Regular readers of this blog know that I’m an advocate of feedback loops.
There are dozens of ways that you can (and should) use feedback loops to better understand your consumers. These include advisory panels, ethnography, surveys and so on.
But too often, we brand leaders forget that we’re an active part of these feedback loops. We need to send signals as well as receive them. And we can build stronger bonds by signaling the right things to the people we serve. Continue reading “The Best Brands Use Feedback Loops Both Ways”
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For many leaders of smaller businesses, sustainable growth can be difficult to conjure up. If that sounds like you, I’d like to introduce you to a company that should give you hope.
Consider these results:
- This company has averaged 19% compounded annual growth over the last 8 years, with annual growth never less than 6% during this period.
- This company doubled sales in one five-year period, and nearly quadrupled sales in eight years.
- Notably, this growth was earned in a mature market that can be challenging to sell to.
And they did it without relying on any “secrets,” gimmicks or silver bullets.
Intrigued? Let’s get to know them a little better.
Continue reading “Here’s How One Business Quadrupled Its Sales in a Flat Market”
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“We’re in a crowded market. We have no meaningful advantage, and if we did, someone would copy it by next Tuesday. So how do we create brand differentiation?”
This question, or some version of it, is one I’ve been asked most often in my 20 years of brand strategy consulting.
The good news: There’s always an answer, and I’ll point you to several areas of exploration. The bad news: It won’t be easy.
Continue reading “In a Crowded Market, How Do I Create Brand Differentiation?”
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Your brand is not your logo.
Your brand is not your website.
Your brand is not your color scheme.
These are elements of your brand. But they’re not your brand.
Continue reading “Stop worrying about your branding.”
(Reading Time: 2 minutes)Exhibit A:
Before a recent vacation, I emailed a pet-sitting service to inquire about their pricing and availability.
It took them 11 days to respond, during which time I located a less expensive, more convenient option.
Exhibit B: Continue reading “Poor Customer Service – Widespread, But Easy to Fix”
(Reading Time: 4 minutes)Here’s a statistic that I wouldn’t believe had I not measured it myself: 100% of my friends are excellent drivers.
I’m serious. You can ask them. Better yet, ask your friends for their assessments of their own driving skills. You’ll probably record a similar number.
I can find you a bunch of statistics like this.
In one survey of university faculty, over 90% rated themselves “above average” in terms of teaching ability. That’s right – 90% of these professors placed themselves in the top 50%. Continue reading “Your Brand Is Not as Great as You Think It Is (And What to Do About That)”