There’s a big economy out there with plenty of brands fighting it out for a place in the market. Finding your own particular place in a sea of sexy startups and heavyweight corporations can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to creating a brand for your business. While your initial thoughts might be about building your product or securing your first sale your brand and your competitors’ brands should not be far from your thinking. Brand positioning is key to securing the success of your business and carving out a niche in the marketplace. This is important for businesses of all sizes but especially for startups because positioning your brand right early on can give your business a fighting chance, especially in a competitive marketplace.
Of course, differentiating your brand from your competitors’ is relatively simple if you have a unique idea behind your business in the first place. Ideally, you have a company that brings something wholly original to the marketplace. Yet for the majority of businesses, it’s nearly impossible to avoid overlap altogether. To help your business standout from the competition, you need to present your audience with something that they’ve never seen before, all the while being better than the other guy. When thinking about how to differentiate your brand from your competitors’ there are a number of aspects to consider but there are some clear approaches and points of focus to be had that ensure that your brand stands out.
Taking Stock of Your Industry
In order to spice up the market, you need to have a solid understanding of the current state of your industry including what’s working and what’s missing. It’s not enough to simply say “I will be the trendsetter of my industry” and think that this is enough. At Anarium, all too often we hear the phrase “I want to be the Apple of (insert industry here)” and groan. Brand positioning is a little more nuanced than striving or claiming to be ‘the Apple’ of a particular sector or space. In fact, by saying this, companies kind of miss the point of defining exactly who they are and how they are perceived within their particular sector.
“Don’t strive to be the “Apple” of any particular industry. Apple is Apple and that’s all there is to it. Strive to be the best, unique you you can be. Your brand and all its assets whether physical, intangible or as-yet-unrealized are, or should be, uniquely yours. There is a fine line between good competitor analysis and understanding of an industry and living in someone else’s shadow (or worse – copycatting. Erm…please don’t!)
That is not to say that we don’t appreciate ambition or striving to become a market leader and influencer but defining your brand in the context of someone else’s shows a lack of understanding of your own brand and its position and values. Know the competition, know the strengths and weaknesses, their brand position, their customers and how they operate but just don’t live in their shadow. Competitor analysis and knowing your wider marketplace and industry is essential for understanding your own brand and should be seen in this way.
Customers will respond to a brand that knows itself and will appreciate you more for it. Positioning yourself in the context of another brand is a little like wanting ice cream but settling for a cone. Nobody ever wants just a cone, however good that cone might be. Work out your brand’s positioning and own that space.
“Position your brand with its own personality, story and strategy and you will reap the benefits”