Whether we are business owners, or promoting the company we work for, we all face the same thing—a crowd of competition who want the attention of the same audiences we do. So how do we talk about our products, services, and ourselves so we stand out?
The answer is right in front of us, and I’ll get to it shortly.
First, let’s start with my favorite marketing quote from international brand strategist, David Tyreman:
“The ‘default brand’ is the standard that everybody is doing in your industry. Don’t be a default brand!”
I love the term “default brand.” It suggests how mundane our marketing may sound to our audience and that they are hearing similar messages from our competitors. To be noticed, we have to differentiate ourselves.
Now, differentiation is not a new concept to any of us, right? But when competing products and services pop up faster than moles in a whack-a-mole tournament, how do we get noticed?
That leads to my second favorite quote from marketing mastermind,Marty Neumeier:
“When everybody zigs, zag.”
If everybody is going one way, then go another way.
One way to zag is through positioning. You differentiate yourself and your brand through positioning.
“Positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect.”
Looking inside the mind of your customer – or those who have the potential to become one – is job number one. Because that’s where you find marketing gold!
So…how do you talk about your products, services, and company so you are heard? I promised we would get here.
People let you look into their minds in most every interaction. Listen, interpret, and use their perceptions to create marketing messages that differentiate your brand.
Your customers are walking, talking idea generators for your social media posts, website content, and your overall messaging strategy. Listen to the questions they ask you, and the things they say to you in person, on social media, and any other way you interact. Their questions, comments, and concerns tell you what position your brand, and your competitors’ brands, holds in their mind! Turn these insights into nuggets of marketing gold.
Keep an ongoing list of the questions people ask you about your products or services. For instance:
1. Have you ever heard of ________ before? (a situation or symptom)
2. How much of ________ do I use? (a product or action)
3. Do I need to ________? (an instruction)
4. What happens if ________? ( calm someone’s fears by answering a “what if” question, and you’re a hero!)
Also keep a list of comments that people say about your products, services, and industry – and about your competitors!
I know this sounds basic, and many of us think about these things in fleeting moments and at different times, but once you make a conscious effort to write down these questions and comments and think about the answers and the thought patterns they reveal, your marketing messages will begin to write themselves.
Understand how you want to position your brand. Understand how to differentiate your brand from your competitors.
And, then use the valuable market research people offer you for FREE to understand what position your brand has in their mind so you can create messages that get you noticed. And remember, you will hold different positions in the minds of different audiences, so your messaging is always a work in progress.
As a brand writer, Judy Scinta blends marketing communications and writing expertise to create content, copywriting, and other message strategies for companies of all sizes, including startups.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.