How to maximise the uniqueness of your brand

If your brand does what it is supposed to, if it achieves everything that your advertising promises, then you have met the minimum standard required to exist within your category. Your consumers may be happy with your product, but that alone does not make you unique, it does not differentiate you from your competition.

Marketing may argue that the branding is what makes you stand out. That the brand positioning, your boldly stated brand purpose, or your standout advertising and communications are what differentiates you from your competition.

The product team will point to how your flavour is better or how your product does its specific job in a unique way different from its competitors, how its ingredient list or formulation make it better quality or more sustainable than your competitors.

Consumers come back to brands again and again because they make them feel good.

While all of the above contribute to how your product may be different from its competitors, what is really important, what actually differentiates your product, your brand, from its competition is how it makes your consumers feel.

Consumers come back to brands again and again because they make them feel good.

Maybe it makes them feel good about the brand, about the fact that they are using this brand, maybe it makes them feel good about themselves. If your brand makes your consumers feel good they will love your brand.

The Consumer response to a brand is emotional, not logical or rational.

So, the Marketers are right, the brand positioning and communications play an important role beyond just attracting consumers to your product. Your communications set the consumers’ expectations of the product. If you claim to be the best tasting you had better deliver, if you claim to be green and sustainable then the consumer use experience needs to support this claim…

…and the Product Team are right as well. They need to produce a product that delivers on all the marketing promises. That delivers on the consumer expectations.

Your consumers, however, are probably not scientists or experts in your specific product field. They do not understand, or care much about the subtleties of your product formulation or even the nuances of your flavour delivery. Their response to their product experience is emotional, not logical or rational.

So, if we want our brand to be unique, to stand apart from our competitors, we need to understand the consumer’s emotional response to their brand experience, we need to track how our branding, communications, packaging etc set up consumer expectations and how their product experience delivers against these expectations. We need to understand how the complete brand experience comes together and how that makes the consumer feel.

It is the journey that differentiates your brand from its competitors not the end point.

This is not new news to most brand owners, but all too often the focus is upon how consumers feel after experiencing our products. It is upon the end point rather than the whole journey. Our chocolate is indulgent, or our drink is refreshing. Bur most chocolates are indulgent and most drinks refreshing, it is the journey that differentiates your brand from its competitors, not the end point.

As the consumer experiences your product/brand they move through a whole journey. As they progress through the many touch points from advertising, on-pack communications, packaging… through to the whole consumption experience they also experience a complex emotional journey with its ups and downs, twists and turns, before they arrive at that end point – indulgence, refreshed …

It is this emotional journey that is the essence of your brand. This is your uniqueness. It is when you understand this journey and how your communications, and product experience come together to deliver it, that you understand the uniqueness of your brand.

When you understand the true uniqueness of your brand you will also recognise how you can tweak your communications and/or your product delivery to ensure an even better emotional journey that will make your consumers feel really good about using your brand.