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How well do you know your own brand?

Identifying your USP and working on your brand positioning statement are both important factors in a marketing strategy, especially if you’re a new business, launching new products or services or are reviewing your position in the wake of Covid-19…

Have you identified your USP (unique selling proposition)?

Ideally, your USP is something that will be developed when you work on your brand positioning statement. Haven’t done that either? Then read on!

We were prompted to write this blog after watching a short video on LinkedIn about developing an individual’s UVP (unique value proposition). As a marketing consultancy, APM works with companies to develop their USP (which stands for unique selling proposition, sometimes referred to as the unique selling point, and even the x-factor – after the well-known television series became a household name) and brand positioning statement. The latter is, in fact, quite similar to a UVP because it originates from that same base of value, so it was really interesting to hear this approach applied to individuals.

The video used words such as compelling and concise, and phrases such as ‘cutting through the noise of this chaotic world’. It resonated with us, because that is just what your company needs to do, via its brand.

So what does a brand positioning statement do?

A brand positioning statement helps a business to recognise who its target market is and enables you to think about how you want your prospective customers and clients to perceive your brand.

Ideally, a business should write its brand positioning statement before bringing its products or services to market, as it helps to benchmark it against its competitors – it sets it apart in relation to the consumers financial, physical and emotional needs.

However, we know that in the real world this is only likely to happen when a large corporate is developing a new product or service. Nevertheless, SMEs who are reviewing their marketing activities in the face of Covid-19 (we looked at this last month) should definitely add this activity to the whole exercise.

It’s also hard to change a brand’s position once a perception has set in.

Developing your brand proposition

Over the summer, we talked specifically about brand strategy, touching on brand values, the brand proposition and brand positioning – all very important elements. Below we focus on the brand proposition.

Building a brand is about more than just designing a logo. If you want a strong brand, you need to commit to providing excellence (whether that is through product, service or both) and really having a feel for the qualities that define your brand. Consumers should know what to expect from your brand – and even better if they are pleasantly surprised. This is where your USP comes into play and aims to differentiate your brand from its competitors.

Your brand proposition is that special something that is hard for others to copy. It’s not necessarily about the actual product or service (although that is important), it goes above and beyond that, and is part of your business’ unique culture and attitude.

Especially now, when it is far easier to create communities via social media, a brand should be able to inspire loyalty, and a feeling of worth and belonging. Just ask anyone who drives a VW Beetle – part of the joy of driving that Bug is that you belong to a community, whether you attend Bug Jams and other events, or simply enjoy the camaraderie of waving to other Beetle owners when you’re driving along!

That is the special feeling that a brand should give your customers. It should inspire them to share their enthusiasm for your product or service, to endorse it in the real world and online, to make referrals, and to introduce their friends and family to it.

To achieve this, it can be helpful to give your brand a personality – is it male or female, young or old, a serious, business-focused person with a no-nonsense approach, or an enthusiastic trend-setter?

Apple is a great example of a company with a very clear brand proposition. It is all about the design of its devices – whether laptop, phone or tablet – how easy they are to use, and how aspirational the brand is. Apple devotees tend to be incredibly loyal and great ambassadors for the brand. Apple also sticks to its commitment to the excellence of its brand – how would its aspirational customers feel if Apple brought out a cheap and cheerful iPhone for example? Surely it would simply detract from their existing brand proposition and breed distrust.

This all sounds fantastic, so how do you start building your brand proposition? Here’s a few things for you to consider:

  • Target customer: Who is likely to be your customer, who will want to use your product or service? You might have a number of different audience segments – and that’s okay.
  • Customer problem: What problem does your target audience have that you can solve?
  • Your solution: How you can solve their problem.

You will need to research what your competitors are offering as well, so that you have the full picture. Then you can start to position your brand so that it brings it to the top of your target audience’s wish list. In this position it should be well placed to fulfil their needs – whether on a physical, emotional or financial level.

Finally, in order to keep your rivals at bay, you need to have evidence that your product or service will do a better job of solving your customers’ problem than anything supplied by your competitors.

If you would like to have a chat about developing your company brand, please call Alison Page on tel: 07963 002065 or email: hello@alisonpagemarketing.co.uk. You can of course browse our website to see what our existing clients have to say about our work.

Alison Page

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