Found those words on the Internet this morning.
How w-i-d-e is the gap between hard-won expertise vs. the hype-driven tactic-du-jour we each read about each and every day? It’s often not fully appreciated until it’s too late with a lot of money lost.
Man… the pain and “wisdom scars” some CEOs and entrepreneurs carry around after encountering this landmine in business: the too-good-to-be-true designer or consultant who promises the world only to delivery off-the-mark crap.
Yet it’s all so unnecessary. Here’s what I mean.
“The Time to be Awesome is Now”
(Thank You Kid President)
Every brand, before it does anything else, must ask, “Why should anyone care about my brand?”
Your competition is just as convinced of their greatness as you are of yours. Really, they are. Even the inferior ones.
Just like you, they think their special qualities are better than yours, often using the same promises and distinctions (i.e., experienced personnel, excellent customer service, knowledgeable staff, etc.) which makes for a very noisy and very confusing environment for your prospective customer.
It becomes a question of “How do we convey our differentiation instantaneously?” and drive a wedge between any apparent (or assumed) sameness in the marketplace.
How One Startup Took Control
of its Brand Experience (and
How You Can Too)
There are three points I used to help a gourmet chocolatier increase sales 300% in a single month as well as a Midwest city to increase tourism guests 500% in 12 months.
Fact: the same principles that work for physical destinations (such as tourism destinations) also work for retail, online businesses and cultural events.
In the case of destination branding, one has the specific goal of making some location irresistible enough to want to physically go there and visit.
But let’s not forget: Creating desire and demand is the end result of branding done well.
In any of the above examples, differentiation is the tool that gets us there.
Even advertising legend David Ogilvy wrote, “Charm and differentiation work well in tourism advertising.”
And if you have a business, you have to make it a destination for your customers in your category, even if it’s only online.
Well beyond advertising, that charm and differentiation must exist at each contact point of your brand.
Let me explain by showing you how one brand took its fate into its own hands.
The 3 Common Mistakes That are
Sabotaging Your Brand’s Growth
When I was approached by Renea at No Worries Lodge to define the brand visually for their stunning 7,000 square-foot luxury lodge rental set against a beautifully spacious and serene Midwest backdrop, it became an issue of designing a distinct brand: the logo design (and other materials) with a tag line had to portray their unique value proposition in a compelling, uncliche way.
To do this successfully, I applied three points to avoid the pitfalls so many brands fall into:
• Pitfall #1: Doing what’s expected, the same as everyone else (the bar is being raised continuously so excelling is the new normal).
• Pitfall #2: Maintaining the status quo; in other words, your brand has be fluid and defy ordinary since we’re in the age of fast, relentless (and sometimes overnight) innovation.
• Pitfall #3: Being an evolutionary brand rather than a revolutionary brand, since more and more companies are willing to turn industries on their head changing the playing field overnight. So being a revolutionary brand is the only way to survive in today’s world.
Seeing is Believing
Putting these 3 checklist items into use, I first started with the logo. It had to be something that engaged the viewer right out the gate by its very design to relay a different vibe and brand vocabulary (I’ve chosen to show it you in this video since it unveils it beautifully):
The distinctive design was complemented by this slogan: “Leave the world behind.” Very appetizing and it paints a picture in terms of what you can expect when you get there.
Then it became a matter of raising the bar, doing something more than what one usually encounters. So I created a couple of postcards for guests to send to friends while immersed in this setting of unmatched solitude away from the world.
These were accompanied by a beautifully presented “picture album”-style brochure (also for guests and those making reservations).
No Worries Lodge is perfect for complete family gatherings, girls’ getaways and reunions of any sort from the Big Chill type to book clubs.
But not to rest on our laurels, the following promotion was developed specifically for executive retreats (after all, executives are people too and what a better place to unplug and get something done than here!).
Of course this warranted to obligatory coffee mug and guest journal:
What Worked? (And Why?)
We avoided doing what was expected making sure it wasn’t the same as anyone else.
We avoided the status quo in design, in style, in approach and even in the choice of media to relay the brand.
We avoided taking evolutionary steps and made bigger, bolder steps that paid immense attention to details, even with Renea’s title which we crafted. Her title? Protector of Solitude (of course).
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