Branding is Rarely about Being the Best

Branding is rarely about being the best

What has more impact, the broad black rectangle or the narrow red line?

The key to developing a strong brand is understanding why your product or service matters. How does it differ from the competition, how is it better? I find many clients stumble when attempting to respond to these kinds of questions. They often get hung up on defining their unique selling point, and I can understand why. “We are the best,” “we provide the best service”, or “we have the best technology” are the most common answers I hear.

It’s rarely—if ever—enough to simply have ‘the best’. For example, the best technologies are often only adopted if the price point, timing, and landscape are right. The best service only matters if the product being offered also has value. The often self-proclaimed title of ‘the best’ is subjective and fleeting.

Rather than broadly answer what makes them ‘the best’, clients are better served by determining what specific aspects of their offering are meaningful to a particular audience. By narrowing focus and speaking directly to a set of specific needs, motivations, experience, and expectations, you can truthfully be the best choice. It allows a closer relationship that ideally connects in a way that your product or service is seen as essential, and would be missed if you no longer existed.

Brands that build positive customer sentiment by being ‘meaningfully different’ from the competition are able to capture five times more volume, command a price premium, and are four times more likely to grow their value share than those that don’t.” Peter Walshe, Relentlessly Relevant Brands

Ask yourself how many of the companies you feel passionate about speak in broad strokes, rather than pinpoint accuracy? Large companies with huge audiences like Apple or Nike have this focus in common with smaller, successful companies like Lululemon or Tom’s shoes. No brand can connect with everyone, and no company has an offering that is best for all.

Who should care about your companies existence? Why should you matter to them? How can you communicate this in a clear, consistent, flexible, and meaningful way?

This is how good branding starts—not with a graphic designer offering up dozens of concepts two days after your initial meeting.

These are big questions with big impact. They demand considerable thought and are essential to answer if a company hopes to connect with an audience perpetually faced with new options.

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