We want people to talk about our brands.
But what makes them?
Seth Godin first put forward the idea of remarkable as “something your remark on” in his book . He pointed out the obvious fact that everyone would stop and look at a purple cow. You’d call your friends. You’d take photos. It would be remarkable.
But what do you do next?
How do you keep wowing people with purple cows? Most brands either make them yellow, then red, then green. Or they make purple chickens, purple pigs, purple fish.
Yes, this is just a Seth Godin out there metaphor. But it also points out the big problem a lot of marketers have. They make products no one needs. They make purple cows. No one needs a purple cow. They will talk about it. But then it is old news. And no one talks about old news.
If your brand strategy is to just have a purple cow, then you are in trouble. You need a meaningful, unique, sustainable advantage. You need a brand that is:
- Meaningful to your consumer
- Unique from your competitors
- Deliverable by your company
In short, you need a brand that is clear as M-U-D.
MEANINGFUL TO YOUR CONSUMER
So, what is meaningful to your consumer? Don’t ask me. Ask her. Seriously. You should be with, around, in front of, watching, discussing, talking to you consumer all the time. Don’t just hire people to do it for you. Do at least some of it yourself. If you don’t know at least one consumer by name then you are in danger of becoming a professional marketer (more to come on those next week).
Anticipate her needs. Know them inside and out. Discover new ones. Find problems she just thinks are “the way life is” and solve them. Know what she cares about, who is important in her life, what she hopes to achieve. Know what is meaningful to her. And make sure it is meaningful to you and your brand.
UNIQUE FROM YOUR COMPETITORS
This is, unfortunately, what most brands think about most of the time. The competition. There’s a reason I listed it second. Because it is NOT the most important thing. Your consumer is. But you also need to know if you are meeting her needs in a unique way. And that means knowing your competition.
I think of the intersection of meaningful to consumer and unique from your competitors as the category. A category is a mash-up of consumer need and the companies competing to meet it. Categories are interesting studies. Read Ries & Trout’s classic book Positioning for a (re)grounding on the topic. They put it into the lexicon.
The most important part of competitive analysis is to determine who is meeting which consumer needs. And how are we meeting the most meaningful need in a unique way. If we don’t have this, then we are on the hunt for a more meaningful need.
DELIVERABLE BY YOUR COMPANY
Peter Drucker said that “every great idea is reduced to a pile of work for someone.” And in this instance, the brilliant brand idea becomes a pile of work for your company to deliver upon. Consistently. In a way that “surprises and delights” to borrow a favorite P&G-ism of mine.
Does the mission and passion and purpose of your organization—that collection of people and processes—align with the positioning of your brand? You need it to. Why? Because it is hard work satisfying consumers. And “surprise and delight?” Well, that’s ratcheting things up another notch. But it is do-able. We just have to ensure that the entire organization is aligned to deliver core value proposition to her.
Wow her with remarkable solutions to her problems. Surprise her with design she loves and is easy to use. Make it easy to buy as well. Become easy to do business with if the rest of the category is challenging.
MAKING YOUR BRAND REMARKABLE
So, don’t create a purple cow. Don’t make something novel that no one needs. Roll up your sleeves. Find out what is meaningful to your consumer (what was her name?). Find a solution to this problem that is unique from your competitors (and don’t obsess over them). And deliver it by aligning your entire organization toward it (every single department).
Then you will have a truly remarkable brand. And she will talk about it.
This post originally ran on LinkedIn.