Why your business needs its own devoted spot in your customer’s mind
The incredible power of branding is the ability to make customers automatically connect a specific desire to a particular company. But what’s more incredible still is how distinct these desires and their associated brands tend to be.
For one example, consider Red Bull. This drink isn’t associated with anything as broad as “thirst” or “refreshment,” because those are desires covered by existing beverages on the market. Instead, Red Bull is associated with the desire of “energy”: a totally new category that the brand created for itself.
By establishing this new category, Red Bull not only set itself apart from the competition — it became the one specific solution customers think of when they experience a desire for “energy.”
This, in brief, is the value of positioning, as outlined in the book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout. As these experts put it, positioning is simply aligning your branding with one particular need that customers already have.
To connect with customers, you have to appeal to them on a specific level, not a broad one. This is because your customer’s mind is already made up on what brands will satisfy broad needs; they already know who they want to buy from to fulfil vague desires like, “I need new electronics” or “I need new office supplies.” And since those decisions have been made not just on both a logical and emotional level, it’s nearly impossible to push them out.
What’s far easier, especially for a small business, is to find space in the customer’s mind where no brand has taken hold yet — in short, advertising your business by carving out a new niche with which the customer will identify your brand.
So, what does all this have to do with UCC? Well, the point is that in UCC, too, your business has to target a particular need that customers have.
You can accomplish this much like how Red Bull got their success: by targeting a new specific need rather than one other brands already have covered.
Instead of communications in general, think about communications for call centers, or for web sales. These focused, specific approaches all give customers a definitive understanding of why they should choose you over the brands they already know. Better still, these strategies will make your brand be the business customers automatically think of when they experience the specific problems you solve.
At this point, you might be asking how you should create your own positioning. In general, the answer comes down to two points:
- What your business already does well
- What results you can provide (not products)
The first point should be obvious, of course. Your business probably has a particular service you do especially well, so emphasize that strength in your sales and advertising and leverage it to promise a specific business value.
As for the second, the thing to remember is that customers don’t actually care much about products themselves — actually, they care about paying a fair price for something that will solve their business issue. To stand out in their mind, you need to communicate how you can deliver that solution.
So as far as your own brand goes, the most important thing is to create an association with your particular benefit and the specific need that precedes it. Lean into the power that branding holds when it’s particular and focused; be the company your customers think of as the go-to image for a singular business-related desire.
Basically, if you want to be set for success, get yourself positioned. Because if you want to go big with your business, you should first be good at being small.