In life (as distinct from branding), the three most used and most powerful words are, “I love you.”
Together, they are definitive. Unambiguous. Powerful. (These three words, like The Beatles, are most effective when united.)
So what about your brand?
Do clients feel that strongly about your brand?
Or is it a little diluted, falling somewhere between “love” and “like,” or worse, “hate.”
The 3 Most Powerful Words in Branding
Well, in branding, there are three equally powerful words that, used wisely, can steer your brand away from stupid, shallow mistakes and toward rewarding, meaningful and defining steps to elevating your brand above the noise.
Those words are these: “…like everyone else.”
We’re Obsessed. And That’s Not Always a Good Thing.
Every client I have the opportunity to work with is convinced about the greatness of their brand’s product or service. Not a single exception.
Nobody has ever said, “Hi David, we’d like to talk with you about branding our pretty average product and how to polish this little pebble of mediocrity.”
Everyone knows they have a winner.
They then proceed to tell me all of the attributes. The life-changing features and benefits.
There’s only one small (and enormous) problem: 99% of the time, all their competition is saying the same thing. (Read how an INC 5000 company overcame this.)
After they are done telling me this, I proceed to ask, “Why should I, the consumer, care about your product over all the competing products or services out there?”
This is generally answered with, “Um, well… that’s why we’re calling you!”
Eliminating the Hit-and-Miss Approach to Defining Your Brand’s Distinction
So, I’ve come up with a simple drill using the other three most powerful words in life: “…like everyone else.”
It goes like this: Write down your top 5-10 attributes, features and distinctions of your brand. Some may be unique (from your point of view), but it’s not your viewpoint that matters here. It’s the viewpoint of the prospect, along with all the other media messages they’re hearing.
So, after you’ve written your list of attributes, you’ll be shocked to find this disturbing insight: those promises, distinctions and features sound remarkably similar to those of your competitors.
How do you get to see that? Just by adding to each of those attributes these three magical words: “like everyone else” and 9 times out of 10, you’ll discover the painful truth that you don’t really have a compelling reason for anyone to see more value, more worth, more distinction than what your competitors are offering.
It’s not because you wrote those words. It’s just that this little tool helped you see that, maybe, just maybe, we don’t have our brand promise dialed in as good as we thought we did.
It helps to take those statements we love so much like “we really care about the customer” and see very clearly what it conveys when read with with those 3 words: “We really care about the customer, like everyone else.”
“We offer the best value” now becomes obviously thin when we read, “We offer the best value, like everyone else.”
“We provide the best technology available” becomes “We provide the best technology available, like everyone else.”
Our myopic focus on our special attributes suddenly becomes quite transparent when looking at our brand on the global stage, putting it in the context of the world’s stage
The usefulness of this is that you now have a tool to see how much work you have to do before you invest in your brand and marketing efforts.