It’s getting more difficult for many players in the VAR space to make a name for themselves and carve out a unique and memorable brand identity these days. With a market that’s rapidly approaching the saturation point and a field of aggressive and increasingly savvy competitors, it can be tough to hone in on the few inimitable services, skills, and qualities that set your firm apart from the crowd.
Cognitive scientists and marketing experts may not appear to have much in common, but they do agree on one key point—if customers don’t regard your brand as utterly unique, offering services, products, and value that no one else can, they are not likely to remember you the next time they’re looking to buy. The human brain uses its unique ability to detect and classify differences in many cognitive processes, such as making value judgments and creating short- or long-term memories.
In other words, if your firm does not have a strong brand identity and tends to blend in to the crowd, it may be literally impossible for your prospects to form a strong, memorable connection to your brand. On the other hand, if you’ve worked hard to differentiate your firm from others in your field and your name, logo, and unique selling proposition are instantly memorable, the reverse may be true—it may be difficult for potential customers to forget you!
If you’ve run into some challenges in the process of distinguishing your brand, here are a few tips to jump-start the process.
Encapsulate your core vision. The first step in the process of differentiating your brand is figuring out the message you want to convey. Set aside a few hours to brainstorm with your team. The aim of this tête-à-tête is coming up with a succinct, sentence-long message that fully embodies your brand.
Get over your identity crisis. After you’ve developed your core vision statement, assess the ways that you’ve been presenting yourself to the world. Are your logos and marketing collateral consistent with the message you want to put out there? If not, it may make sense to consult with a graphic designer to develop a unified system of images that better reflect your core brand identity.
Emphasize one-of-a-kind connections. Nothing builds brand identity like unique relationships to the people in the markets you serve. Does your firm have a long history of service within a particular community or region? Do your principals have connections with the industries you target? If so, put the spotlight on these points of convergence in your marketing message.
Create a unique service experience. Out-of-this-world customer service is a great way to build brand identity. Train your team members to consistently go above and beyond the call of duty when interacting with clients. Develop a customer-service credo that ties back into your core brand identity. Make top-notch service your firm’s calling card.
Develop unflinching message discipline. Once you’ve identified the components that will comprise your unique brand identity, stick to this message devoutly. Be sure to underscore the importance of maintaining consistency in all aspects of your team’s interactions with customers and prospects. Over time, this consistency will begin to crystallize into the kind of tangible brand identity that can work wonders when it comes to differentiating your firm from its competitors.
What’s your take on brand differentiation? Do you think customers in your market see the daylight between your firm and its competitors? How does brand identity figure into your overarching strategy? We’d love to get your input in the comments.