In a commoditized industry? Unclog your brand.

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Plateauing volumes, eroding margins, sales lost to that competitor with an inferior product. What you feel in your gut is probably true—the market views you as just another supplier. You’re becoming a commodity.

But there’s hope. We’ve helped marketers across multiple industries unclog their brands by following the principles outlined below.

Uncover customer value and differentiation

We’re all experts on our own business and can quickly rattle off specifications and product features and quality measures galore. But customers make purchase decisions to help them solve problems and challenges they are facing. Understanding those challenges – and positioning your organization to help solve them – is the key to unclogging your brand from your competitors.

The best way to identify those customer challenges is to simply listen. Whether it’s via a focus group, in-depth interviews or a quantitative survey, invest in the opportunity to gain the insights that will ultimately help you better serve your customers – and set you apart from your competition. Take care to listen without letting your current perceptions color what you hear. Insights are gained from assuming you haven’t heard it all before.

Assess the competitive environment

It might be difficult to think objectively about how your marketing materials stack up against your competitors, but it’s a worthy exercise. Chances are your customers are seeing the same jargon, the same clichés, the same stock images and the same product shots. If you covered up the logos with your thumb, would you be able to identify who is who? Probably not. And neither can your customers. Take the time to read through anything you can get your hands on and take note of the words or claims that are used over and over again. Then stop using them.

Create a unique and compelling voice

Armed with a new understanding of your customers and competitive environment, you’re ready to stand out:

  • Avoid the clichés and jargon your competitors’ use and speak simply and directly to your customers instead
  • Talk to them about the challenges they face and demonstrate how you can help solve them
  • Use case studies and/or customer testimonials as appropriate
  • Instead of leading with product images, be human. Show situations your customers can relate to or see themselves in. Your marketing materials should read like a conversation, not Advertising CopyTM

Help employees deliver the brand

So now you know what your customers are looking for, you’re avoiding all the jargon and you’re speaking directly to your customers about their challenges. That’s awesome! But there’s one more audience that should not be overlooked – your employees. They are the ones who come into contact on a day-to-day basis with your customers and it’s important they understand what your brand is, why it matters and how it shapes their role within the company. Consider having a fun event that explains the unclogging process you just went through. Follow up with a handy reference guide to reinforce they key ideas. Empower them to make certain decisions during customer interactions that will reinforce your company’s position.

Let the unclogging begin

This unclogging process forces you to look at youself and your competitors from your customers’ and non-customers’ points of view.

That’s important because in a world where customers and prospects control information, communication and the buying process, it’s in your best interest to think about things the way they do.

And ultimately, the process can provide direction to help you change the relationship that you have with customers and prospects.  You can more easily focus on helping them solve their problems and draw them closer to your brand on a deeper level.  This understanding of customer and prospect value is the key ingredient to developing a powerful business brand that sets you apart from the competition.

And that’s key to winning sales and getting paid as a trusted brand rather than another commodity.

Sounds complicated? Don’t worry, we can help. It’s what we do. Call me at 312.422.5942 and I’ll talk you through it.

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