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Intentional Steps to Building a Better Brand

As a business owner who has been around for a while, you are good at what you do. No question about it. Your company wouldn’t still be around if you didn’t. Question for you: What makes your company good? What makes it great? What makes it better than the competition?

How many times have you received a marketing message wherein a company or their products claim to be pretty good, adequate or good enough? Probably not too often, or at all. Perhaps there might be the company that claims to be the cheaper (think “knock off!”) version of a very expensive item or brand, but even they describe their products as “just as good without the price tag.”

Question is: What is better? How does a company present itself as truly better?
In our hyper-competitive world, in many cases, business owners compete head-to-head on price. Simply using a search engine, you can find hundreds of companies that offer the exact same products and services with similar pricing. Within that mix, you’ll probably see the company that has the “rock-bottom pricing” that you may likely shy away from, thinking that there may be something wrong with their offering. Then you’ll see some offerings that are much higher, which might pique your curiosity as to why their prices are so high. Perhaps their offering is somehow better!

Better is segmented: What is better for one person is not necessarily better for another. Better is in the eye of the beholder; better for your company is what your market values. If you watch “Man vs. Food,” you will see a guy that goes to restaurants wherein the portion sizes are huge. Perhaps in his mind, larger portions are better.
But if you watch Chef Ramsey, the impression you get is that smaller portions and intricate flavors are better – more appetizing.

Do you think each would place the same value on which is better? Probably not. While they might appreciate each other’s choices, they would more than likely select one as better over the other.

Better is Intentional: Consider Chick-Fil-A, a national chicken sandwich brand. Their sandwich is good, consistent and costs more than other sandwiches in the fast food space. However, they go above and beyond that by ensuring every diner’s experience is exceptional. Employees are consistently friendly, well-dressed and groomed, dining rooms are spotless and they do a lot of little things like giving out samples, refilling drinks and clearing trays to make for a memorable experience.

Better is perception: Grocery stores offer their customers the ability to purchase cakes, pies, cookies and other baked items. Some grocery stores are really good at it and have open kitchens where customers can watch their bakers prepare items. Typically, pricing is competitive; you could probably get a half-dozen cupcakes for about $3. At the same time, there are hundreds of cupcake, cookie and cake shops that specialize in what they offer selling their items at a premium. You might pay $1 to $2 for a single cupcake!  Despite using similar or the same ingredients, the smaller stores tend to give consumers the impression that their offering is better.

Better is a mentality: Look at brands like Gatorade and Nike – a beverage company and a sneaker company. Neither company makes products that truly change the way people do things, but both have engrained in their consumers that associating with their brands make the consumers better. They never associate their brands with inactivity, with losing, with anything perceived as weak; all of their actors are athletic, driven and giving all that they have.

Better produces results: If you create an ecosystem of “better,” and your offering does not meet expectations, you are nowhere. You may be familiar with DSL (digital subscriber network) which is sold by one of the larger telecom companies. If you were to watch their commercials and see their marketing materials, you would be under the impression that this would be the best investment that you could make. Good quality, low price, familiar brand that was once a household name…cannot lose. However, you would quickly find out that if you have more than a few devices connected, performance would begin to suffer. If you were to use this service with a VOIP (voice over IP) phone system, it would more than likely fail. The results simply won’t meet the expectation.

The bottom line is that when aiming to be better, consider what you are offering, who you are marketing it to and how to deliver consistent results.  Understand that your message and your offering will not appeal to everyone, which is fine. (I am sure that there is a strong DSL market out there.) However, it can be the best offering for your market segment. Just do it better!

Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results.  We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.

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