There were 5.7 million SMEs recorded trading in the UK in 2017. So, how many brands does that equate to competing against each other? Literally MILLIONS! Which leads us to ask, how do you make your brand stand out above the rest? Let’s take a look at six of the top reasons why brands disappear into the background rather than shining like stars.
1. Lack of uniqueness
Brands that copy the traits of a competitor will never stand out. Why should people choose you and not the other brand? It’s important to find your own approach or angle that doesn’t mimic anyone else’s. This applies to your tone of voice; your image and your values. It’s worth working hard on creating something different. If you don’t, you’ll just merge into the background.
2. Failure to personalise
If you put out a blanket approach, you’ll fail to engage on a personal level. Disengaged customers are, quite simply, not brand fans. Generic emails; un-personalised mailings; same-old social media responses; none of these actions show you genuinely care about the personal needs and interests of your customers. Remember our how-to guide to customer engagement? We revealed the findings of a survey showing 76 per cent of customers cited treatment by brands as important as the products they bought from them. It’s all about forging individual relationships. To do that, you need to adopt a truly personalised approach.
3. No understanding
This follows on directly from failing to personalise. If you don’t understand your audience, they will never feel wanted. So you need to ensure your messaging is relevant and targeted. Hoover for example has done a great job demonstrating an understanding of the modern mum in its recent advertising campaign. Without showing sympathy and understanding, you will make it a challenge for your audience to connect with you. This will reduce brand engagement. So, be sure to thoroughly research your audience and hone your messaging according to their particular desires and needs, and never stop doing so. Because don’t forget: needs change, and so do trends.
4. Not showing up
Can people actually see your brand? If not, how will they be able to engage with it? You can’t just launch a brand then sit back and wait for customers to trickle in on the off-chance. You really must put all the effort you can into creating brand visibility. Whether it’s through content marketing, influencer marketing or referral marketing, or local SEO, there are numerous brand promoting strategies you can employ. Without them, you will just plod along with the odd enquiry coming in here and there.
5. Failing to show consistency
How will you create a brand identity if you show up differently everywhere people see you? Offline and online, you need to be consistent. That’s in tone, appearance and messaging. Whether it’s how you talk to potential new customers at a trade show, or the way you respond to social media posts or reply to comments on your blog, it all has to have the same feel and approach flowing through it. Be sure to set out brand guidelines so that everyone involved in promoting your brand knows the rules.
6. Being bland rather than taking a stand
If you sit on the fence over controversial issues rather than taking a stand, you’ll never get noticed. Whilst it can feel risky to get up and shout about something, the opposite approach will leave you lagging behind if your competitors do it instead. Taking a stand commands respect and loyalty.
Whether you’re just setting out on a brand building exercise, or your brand has been around for a while but could do with a boost, it is important to begin with a strategy that will help you avoid all the most common mistakes. If you could do with some help in creating that strategy, why not talk to Figment? Branding is one of our strong points. We could start with an audit of your current brand and audience and see where we can take you.