From a marketing standpoint, we live in a world where it's more difficult than ever to stand out. There's so much noise and content floating around on the internet that it's become imperative to find a way to distinguish your brand to stand apart from the competition.
Is it possible to use your website, blog, and social media content to create an emotional connection with your prospective customers that will extend beyond the initial interaction with your business? Yes, absolutely. Iconic brands are able to do this beautifully, and positioning their brands to break through the clutter sets them up for the long haul.
What is an Iconic Brand?
For a brand to be iconic, it needs to be able to establish an identity that stands apart from the crowd and addresses what customers are looking for. Some examples of iconic brands that immediately come to mind include Apple, Google, Nike, and Coca-Cola. Each of these brands is distinctive in its respective marketplace, which is essential for being able to transcend in a specific industry.
The Cornerstones of an Iconic Brand
Becoming an iconic brand is no easy fete. To reach this status, your brand must encompass the four cornerstones of distinction. Outlined below is an overview of each of these cornerstones to strive for:
Cornerstone #1: Clarity
It's difficult to be able to differentiate your brand if you haven't first taken the time to define it.
While C-level executives within your organization can eloquently pitch your value proposition within a matter of seconds, can the same be said for the employees that serve as the face of your business? According to a recent study by the National Retail Foundation, approximately 70 percent of frontline employees don't possess the ability to clearly convey to customers why their employer's product is better than the competition's.
Much of this lack of clarity stems from the overall marketing message that brands are putting forth. If marketers can't clearly communicate their advantages, how can they expect their employees to clearly communicate this message?
For your brand to be able to achieve the cornerstone of clarity, your employees need to have a clear understanding of what your business stands for. Papa Johns is an example of a brand that does this well through the use of its simple slogan, "Better Ingredients, Better Pizza." This message clearly communicates to both prospective customers and employees that Papa Johns takes great pride in quality, which helps to differentiate the brand from the competition.
Most simply put, mastering the cornerstone of clarity means that you're able to clearly describe what your business stands for, both internally and externally.
Cornerstone #2: Creativity
One thing is for sure: people aren't loyal to generic brands. Once you define what your business stands for, you need to find one specific quality about your business that you can twist to creatively distinguish your brand from the competition.
Please note that we don't mean changing your product or price. Instead, look for opportunities to make a single tweak to the industry standard. For example, outdoor-gear retailer REI was one of the first businesses to choose to close on Black Friday each year to encourage people to spend the day outdoors. This was a big move for REI, considering that Black Friday is a huge driver for revenue for retailers. However, REI's creative decision to #OptOutside helped the company to stay true to its values and differentiate itself from the competition. Ultimately, REI's decision helped the company to remain a leader in the outdoor-gear retailer space.
Cornerstone #3: Communication
After you've clearly defined what your brand stands for and established a creative way to distinguish your business in the marketplace, it's time to communicate this message, both internally and externally.
To enhance the customer experience, a best practice is to ask customers directly how they would like for your brand to communicate with them. Between phone calls, emails, social media, and messaging tools, there are so many ways for your business to stay in communication with existing and prospective customers. By reaching out via a communication channel that your target customer prefers, your message is more likely to be heard.
When communicating your message, keep in mind that storytelling is an effective tactic that appeals to generations young and old. Your brand has a compelling story to tell, and you need to leverage the various forms of content (text, imagery, video, audio, and more) to help your story resonate with your audience.
Cornerstone #4: Customer Experience
When was the last time that you asked yourself what it's like to do business with your company? It's imperative that you put yourself in your customers' shoes to develop the ultimate customer experience.
When you create content to captivate your audience's attention, you need to consider what you want the next steps in the customers' journey to be. And, once the prospective customer makes a purchase from your business, what is your plan to maintain this relationship to drive future sales?
Brands become iconic because they excel at drilling down into the customer experience and getting as granular as possible. By placing the customer experience front and center, you'll be able to develop a brand that your customers are loyal to.
How New York Ave Can Help
Regardless of the size of your business, you have the potential to build an iconic brand. Our team at New York Ave is dedicated to helping our clients brand themselves to become more memorable with their target audience.
Contact us to learn more about our unique approach and how we can help you develop an iconic brand.