Don’t be bland; be a braver brand

The days of mediocrity and bland brands are over. If there is one truth that the revolution in marketing has brought about, this is it.  For all the claims that this media or that channel make, a brand’s story, messages, positioning and most important of all, its ACTIONS, now make more of a difference than ever. 

In a recent post titled ’Boards don’t get brands’ we looked at the fact that it was the responsibility of the entire business to deliver the brand. But it’s also the responsibility of the entire business to help identify the differences, thinking and actions that can differentiate it from its competitors.

Recent years have seen some brands become braver than ever before. Embracing the idea that sometimes it is better to try and fail than to never try at all. People respect effort more than apathy.

Microsoft buying Skype, Google buying Motorola, Richard Branson’s decision to start a record label 40 years ago with an artist nobody had ever heard of. (Mike Oldfield, Tubular bells in case you're not THAT old!). Not all efforts will work, but many do and the rewards can be great.

The thing is, it’s not that hard to think of ways to be different.

A simple place to start. Write down the features and benefits of your best selling product. Now do the same for your three key competitors' equivalent product. Next, write down the features and benefits that your and your competitor’s products don’t feature but you know your customers would love. It’s a starting place - now go further.

What is it that you or your competitors' brands do at a corporate or service level that your customers love/hate. What can you do to make a difference? What would turn your market on its head? What would Apple or Google do/say if they entered your market?

Everyone criticises their bank right? Well, not everyone. Customers of FirstDirect are the only banking customers who regularly recommend their bank to others. FirstDirect might not be the biggest or most successful bank in the world, but they have customers on their side. It’s a great place to start. And it's for one of the simplest reasons in the world, says Mark Mullen their CEO, “See the world from your customer’s point of view”.

Having said what we said about media and channel, it’s true of these too. Don’t get complacent in your marketing either. Say you always send your newswire out electronically, why not ring the changes and send out a limited edition version in print? Forget email marketing for your next campaign - choose a different outbound platform. And for all those who say it’s all about inbound – coffee time! Social and content marketing is a form of outbound.

So the next time you embark on your latest thought leadership article, remember actions speaker louder than words. Be a braver brand.