When you start to talk or write about your company, products and services, do you immediately reach for the superlatives: best, excellent, finest, outstanding…? Has it occurred to you that this may not actually be the niche where you belong – and that isn’t necessarily a problem?
Brand is about feelings and emotions, about business values and ethos, and how people relate to them. It’s about creating an effect that allows people to recognise your business and know what to expect from it. When you create and develop a brand, you can think of it as establishing your own company persona and personality that will allow your clients to see you at a distance and recognise a friend they can trust. (You can read more about developing a brand personality in the earlier post When you’re not in the Room.) But it’s important to remember that we can’t be friends with everyone.
True, we have all met people who go out of their way to be agreeable to everybody, desperately trying to avoid conflict and avoid being disliked by anyone. They seem to have no actual beliefs of their own and adapt what they say to appeal to whoever they happen to be with at the time. Eventually, though, others realise that these people are inconsistent and shallow, and no one will trust them. At the end of the day, authenticity counts more than being a yes-man.
Most successful businesses don’t try and cater to everyone’s needs; they are successful because they focus on specific products and specific markets. In the same way, a brand has to accept that it doesn’t need to appeal to everyone.
If we follow this through, it becomes apparent that a brand doesn’t necessarily have to aspire to offer the best and we don’t necessarily have to litter our marketing copy with words like “premium”, “excellence”, “superior” and “select”.
A large proportion of potential clients in any market won’t be able to afford top quality, but that doesn’t mean they should just be ignored. If you can provide a product that works for them, and it makes business sense, there’s nothing wrong with not being in the luxury goods market.
So, ask yourself, what the actual value is that you offer to your clients. Why do they like the personality associated with your brand? Remember that “good value” is just as worthy an attribute as “elite”. We can’t all be A-listers. We need to find our level.
Gwyneth Box is director at Tantamount, a full-service agency with international experience in brand creation and development. Working across sectors in both print and digital spaces, Tantamount specialises in creating outstanding designs and inspiring digital experiences that communicate corporate values and engage with customers and other stakeholders, turning them into advocates for your brand.
To talk about brand, rebranding, or any other design projects, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0798 661 3437.