The Strategist

Don't let your brand get lost in the crowd

11/25/2016 - 15:02

The "think different" philosophy becomes the mantra of new-age business. How do I create a unique company and win love of customers when the market is saturated? What is a secret of successful branding? Is it possible to keep business away from growing competition? Marty Neumeier, an entrepreneur and successful business consultant of Facebook, Nike, Motorola, Adobe, Apple and the Microsoft, tried to answer these questions. Here are some of his suggestions.

Olga Filonenko via flickr
Olga Filonenko via flickr
Information overload

Every day, three thousand advertising messages attack an average person. However, according to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, people are not able to digest more than one hundred posts per day. Majority of advertisements is overloaded with information, which is often unclear or not relevant to the topic.

To deal with this flooding, the human brain has one simple solution: it just blocks the information. Bits, which seem to be the most useful and interesting, get their labels and are placed in memory. Once the cell is full, the brain ceases to add new information, and exactly this fact has influenced the principle of competition.

Barrier to competitors

To stay on top of success, a company constantly needs to put barriers before competitors. During the Industrial Revolution, means of production were the most popular barrier. Today, there is a new obstacle, a barrier that consumers build in their minds. Excess of uniform goods and services is forcing buyers to look for something that would stand out from this chaotic mass of best products. In the world of extreme congestion, you don’t need to be different. You need to be a game-changer. This is a new rule: when everyone is doing "zig", make "zag".

Look for white spaces

Usually we pay attention only to what exists around us. Artists are specially trained to perceive reality (figures) and non-existent (background), so they notice things that other people do not see. When companies look for new market niche, or white space, they need to think like artists, because it is a secret search for "zag". Polish immigrant Isidor Guss found the "white space", and start trading pickles directly from huge barrels in New York. 

There is some more example, like stickers (Post-its), background music (Muzak), vehicles in military style (Hummer), collapsible design houses (Dwell magazine), computers configured for a particular customer (Dell), direct airlines (Southwest). Think about what is missing among this diversity.

What is a brand?

This is not only advertising and logo, which are controlled by the company. Brand is an intuitive sense. It arises when a person sees, or uses any product, service or company as a whole. People create brands to streamline existing chaos.

Reputation is the only word similar in meaning to brand. Just like brands, it is out of your control. It is not your words, but what others say about you. The best thing you can do is to have some effect on it. Trusted brands - that's what people want today. People do not need obsession, empty promises and overload.

What about trends?

Of course, you can create a brand without taking into account trends. In this case, however, you will not be able to fully experience the "zag" energy. Difference is supported by a trend will result in a charismatic brand to win customers’ loyalty. Trends are waves that carry all boats forward.
What are trends you can ride? They are varied infinitely as each industry, region and subculture creates its own trends. 

Nothing ventured, nothing gained 

When BMW decided to launch Mini Cooper, research results show that Americans were not interested in the idea of miniature cars - they all wanted to SUVs. Despite this, BMW floored the gas pedal, and broke into a new lucrative market space. The brave guys from BMW had a lot in common with physicist Niels Bohr. One day, one of his colleagues had to submit a controversial project to a group of scientists. Immediately after the presentation, he asked Bohr for feedback. On that, Bohr replied: "We all believe that your idea is crazy. However, we are still arguing to what extent. "

People, who launched Mini, were insane, but that was the plan. Anyone, who is afraid of innovation, has much to learn from these guys.

Based on Zag. The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands by Marty Neumeier

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