Signs of the Times: How to Build a Better Brand this 2013
First Up, What is Branding?
In holticulture, people marked their cattle with a hot iron stamp to denote ownership and identity, that is, to set them apart from other similar packs of species a cattle might mix themselves in so that at the end of the day, these grazing animals can go back home to their rightful owners. Identification and ownership is deeply rooted in the human psyche and have been manifested throughout different human languages and cultures.
“Human civilization is dependent upon signs and systems of signs, and the human mind is inseparable from the functioning of signs…” – Charles Morris, Foundations of the Theory of Signs
The practice of branding has found its way to business and marketing too and branding takes on an extended definition to include a much larger field. The American Marketing Association Dictionary defines brand as the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”
In 2013, brand building remains the single, most important undertaking for any small business, large company, agency or firm. Any business organization or partnership, even solo ventures, that aims to sell and profit from their products and services through defining a promise or meaning of their product and/or service to consumers need to re-examine or reinforce their brand positioning, storytelling, design, price and customer relationship in today’s age of SoLoMo (social, local and mobile) strategies of marketing effectively in the web.
What to Target or Aim For When Building Your Brand This 2013?
Standing Out, Standing Tall
The key concept here is differentiation. How would you define in your customer’s mind what your brand stands for? How is your brand different from other competing brands?
Every single minute in a day, 571 new websites are created, 337 new blog posts are published on WordPress, 204,166,667 emails are being sent, 100,000 tweets are tweeted, 684,478 pieces of content are shared on Facebook, 3,600 photos are uploaded on Instagram, and 47,000 app downloads are requested from Apple.
How many minutes are there in a day? 1,440 minutes. Multiply each of those numbers by 1,440 and you’ll see just how astounding the amount of data travelling along the information superhighway – 40 petabytes to be exact. Or 4 followed by 16 zeroes. My brain can’t even put meaning to that amount of data.
The internet has got to be the busiest marketplace, the busiest downtown street in history. If you brand your business based on similarities with you biggest competitor, you’re DEAD and drowned. So look at differences rather than similarities when building your brand. Strive to set your brand apart from other players, and do it by the miles!
Telling a Better Story
Every business that markets, advertisers, and sells using the web is telling a story. To stand out, you’ve got to tell a better story. In a two-polar spectrum occupied by Positive and Negative on each end, being in the center is not very persuasive.
No, let me say it again with more impact to jolt you: BEING IN THE CENTER IS BORING.
I hope you got that very important part.
Storytelling is what humans have done for millennia. Right before a system of written has been invented, right before they discovered the joy of vandalism (drawing on cave walls), our early ancestors gathered ’round a bonfire, and repeatedly told and shared stories. The attraction towards a good, emotional story and wanting to hear the best over and over again are deeply embedded in our DNA. It’s just how we humans tick and the smartest brand builders always come up and tell a better story than the ones deemed best.
Being a Brand with a Soul
Let me ask you one thing: why did pundits proclaimed that “the internet leveled the playing field for marketing” during the last 3 years? Why were virtually unknown brands by small businesses able to rise from nowhere and made the big boys a run for their money? Did these smaller guys, smaller brands have more “soul”? You bet.
Case in point: A Filipina teenage girl belted out a tune at a karaoke machine test unit at a grocery store. Somebody caught the entire kick on a phone cam and uploaded it on YouTube. The viral video caught the attention of the Huffiington Post, Gawker, The Hollywood Gossip and other international news sources. Weeks later, Zendee Rose scored a guesting at the Ellen DeGeneres Show, a multi-awarded daytime show in the US (we’re talking about 32 Daytime Emmy Awards as of 2011).
From nobody to the Zendee Rose, the random girl singing at the mall who became a worldwide sensation – that’s her story. Why did it rival existing music celebrities and bands? Because you don’t see that every day – a girl dressed in a t-shirt and a pair of shorts with a backpack on her back, just like any other girl in the mall that day, singing her heart out in a golden voice. It’s a contrasting scene that moved people, an extraordinary voice in an ordinary day.
She stood out, she has a story, and she has soul.
Now, over to you… how would you make your brand voice stand out, tell a better story and exude your soul?
Cheby writes about live chat insights, improving conversions, epic customer service, online marketing and everything in between. She will take you by the hand in exploring how to extend your website's earning power through Offerchat's smart live chat tool, and even smarter live chat people.