Here are simple techniques brands can employ to essentially hack their way to distinction.

It goes without saying that there’s a lot of competition today. Startups and established brands are competing for consumer attention and loyalty. This level of saturation can make it tough for any individual brand to stand out, especially if said brand does not have an endless flow of marketing dollars at its disposal.

There are simple techniques brands can employ to essentially hack their way to distinction. Here are three, along with companies who successfully used them.

1. Risk-taking: Uber
Unless you’ve developed a brand new piece of cutting-edge technology that will revolutionize the world, it will be difficult to stick out from the crowd if you leverage basic marketing tactics. Yes, you need to utilize tried-and-true marketing tactics to be competitive– SEO, PPC campaigns, email and social media. To really break through the noise, you need to think beyond the status quo.

These stunt campaigns have not only proved popular with consumers, but they’ve also garnered flurries of media mentions. If it wants to keep its place at the top of the pedestal, Uber knows that it has to continuously take marketing risks.

Related: 5 Rookie Branding Mistakes Every Entrepreneur Makes But Shouldn’t.

While it’s true that the ride-sharing company has seen its fair share of controversy, it’s also executed marketing tactics that pushed its brands far ahead of the competition. The company has dabbled in delivering ice cream in Australia to celebrate National Ice Cream day and partnered with Animal Planet to bring puppies and kittens into New York City offices.

2. Community engagement: Under Armour.
No brand should expect to survive in today’s marketplace without developing a community around it. Brands can no longer afford to think of community building as a second-tier or afterthought initiative. The brands that have successfully built engaged audience bases have done so through offering distinct value-adds, and it’s important to remember that community initiatives are not sales ploys.

The sportswear brand competes against giants such as Adidas and Nike, and it’s winning because the company adopted a community-first mentality. These individuals tap into the brand’s social fitness community as a source of inspiration and information to help them achieve their fitness goals.

According to a 2014 Harvard Business Review report, brands should not view communities as a means of gathering insights and furthering sales, but as a way to forge real relationships with customers.

Related: The Best Way to make More Results From Your Content.

3. Authenticity and originality: Outdoor Voices.
Replicating another brand’s look or tone will bore consumers before your products have the chance to wow them. Customers aren’t interested in overly filtered brand experiences.

These individuals tap into the brand’s social fitness community as a source of inspiration and information to help them achieve their fitness goals.

Launching a brand is terrifying, and it is so much easier to simply fall in line with your competitors than it is to go out on a limb and distinguish your company. Too many promising brands have fallen by the wayside because they played it safe, but if you really want to make your mark, you have to take a few risks and stay true to your voice.

Unless you’ve developed a brand new piece of cutting-edge technology that will revolutionize the world, it will be difficult to stand out from the crowd if you leverage basic marketing tactics. While it’s true that the ride-sharing company has seen its fair share of controversy, it’s also executed marketing tactics that pushed its brands far ahead of the competition. The brands that have successfully built engaged audience bases have done so through offering distinct value-adds, and it’s important to remember that community initiatives are not sales ploys.

Rather than trying to match its competitors, the company implemented a highly original brand tone and aesthetic. It has created a brand based on celebrating movement of all types.

This level of saturation can make it tough for any individual brand to stand out, especially if said brand does not have an endless flow of marketing dollars at its disposal.

Perfection is boring, so lift the veil and take your customers behind the scenes, share real-life stories and communicate your brand’s history– including some of the struggles you encountered. Customers will be able to relate to your brand more if you stop trying to put on an air of perfection. Authenticity is especially key for brands entering highly competitive spaces.

Related: I Use My Personal Brand to Drive Revenue. You Can Too.

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