Filtering to your customers’ unique buying advantages, Part 1 Featured

8:00pm EDT August 29, 2006
From a marketing perspective, there are specific C-level inquiries that can prove very insightful about the state of an organization. One side of the issue is a costly mistake or pitfall that companies can easily fall into. On the other side is an opportunity for improvement or competency development that will directly advance the organization’s edge-up in the marketplace.

One of these pivotal issues is differentiating your brand.

The pivotal question is: Does my name stand out — or is it just another noodle in the soup?

There are a few key elements to differentiating your brand persona.

These are not just the graphics, the look of your logo, or packaging.

Walk the talk
An essential way to differentiate your brand is through your customer-centric actions. Every day, each employee is impacting your brand in some way. Some of these actions are positive and some are not so positive. Internal marketing is often overlooked in today’s business. Yet it is a key component in building a brand. You can’t build a brand through just fancy graphics, packaging or a logo.

Start by getting everyone on the same sheet of music. Do they all understand the importance of customer service details? Are they delivering this every hour of every day? Make it a point to meet with them regularly to discuss the finer points of your brand attitude and what areas of the business need improving.

Speak your customers’ language
The design element plays a factor, but can’t sustain real brand value. Crafting the right message is the result of really doing your homework and should follow the guideline of communicating the result — how life is better for your customer when he or she buys from you. The crux of this situation is that “better” for them has to be from their perspective, not yours. Have you discovered your customer’s UBAs — unique buying advantages?

Stand out
Using an iconic approach to your brand identity creates homogenization rather than differentiation by definition. A more strategic approach would be to incorporate a design element that visually reinforces your strengths and communicates the results and the benefit that your customer enjoys after selecting your brand over the others.

I call it brand-uniqueness, or standing out from the crowd. All too many ads look like other ads. Companies hire agencies/graphic houses to throw designs together and rush to market. Flip your business telephone directory to the attorney’s section. Look at all the scales, columns, renderings of “blind justice” and a few gavels here and there. It’s pretty difficult to find one that stands out from the others.

A sure thing
Uniformity in applying your brand identity is a crucial step in building a brand that connotes strength, longevity, trust and solidity. Your brand persona should have standard versions for when used in black and white, in color, shown in reverse on a dark background, etc. These standards of presentation are professionally documented in a style guide that becomes the official policies and procedures manual for the expression of your brand.

Our final word on the subject is “consistency” — both in your internal marketing and in your overall messaging. Even though you may be tired of looking at your logo and message in about six months, your customers need at least 20 impressions for it to register. Staying the course in presenting your brand to the world communicates dependability — a universally understood and valued quality to customers. Your name will stand out.

Look to next month’s column to discover how to filter to your unique selling advantages (USAs) and harness the power of your customer’s unique buying advantages (UBAs).

MALCOLM TEASDALE is the principal and “Big Idea Catalyst” of Teasdale Worldwide, a strategic marketing firm headquartered in Tampa, Fla. Reach him at mat@ScreaminEyes.com. To obtain a detailed presentation of the “Business Genetics: The 4 Ps of Organizational Excellence” program, e-mail Kathi Kasel at Kathi@MarketingofDistinction.com. To view additional articles, register at www.MalcolmOutLoud.com.