Sometimes, brand is the only difference

by Tony Fannin, president, BE Branded

In a discussion with a prospect and a couple of my partners, one interesting question came up; “What’s so different about what you do?” That’s a fair question for one of my partners to ask the prospect. (It’s also a fair question to ask ourselves.) In this world of similar products and similar services at similar quality at similar prices, what is unique about what you offer versus anyone else in your category? Many times, it comes down to brand.

Brand is not only who you are, but it’s also what makes you unique. For example, in the grocery industry, many of the top brands like DelMonte, Charmin, and Ballpark Franks have private label products they sell to grocers like Kroger, Target, and Food Lion. Each of these brands not only sell their premium brand in the stores, but also have a lesser line that they sell and private label on behalf of the grocer. It may not be the exact formula, but it does come from the same processing plants or manufacturing plants. Almost every major label, regardless of industry, has a lesser, private label line, they willingly sell to their retail partners. As you see, Brand is the key differentiating factor.

In today’s world, having something totally different is rare. Sustainable advantage is a myth, because of technology, very few are able to keep their advantages to themselves. Almost all of the time, it is your brand and the experience your brand provides to your customers is what makes you unique. It’s not your physical product or service you provide that is unique. We all know where we can get something “just like it”. Just as it is with individuals, so it is true with companies. It’s who you are and what your stand for (your brand) is what makes you unique and different from anyone else. It’s probably the only sustainable advantage. No one else can exactly be you. You, your brand, are unique. Not your widget. Just like a logo is meaningless unless the company puts real meaning to the logo by being who they truly are. The emotion of brand gives life to a logo and real meaning that engages the senses and the mind.

So take a hard look at your company and be honest. There are many others in the world who can do what you do. But there’s no one in the world who can be who you are. Brand is about experiences and standing for something, then communicating that in a real, emotional way. In the end, sometimes it’s your brand that’s the only difference. If done well, it’s the most powerful difference.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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