This is a fun topic as it causes your creative juices to flow. Positioning you and your company is critical to your success. All too often, we choke when we hear from a professional marketing specialist what it will cost to brand or rebrand a company. I can assure you that it is probably the most important investment you will ever make – or the worst investment you’ve ever made.
I recently read a description about creating a value proposition. If your value proposition sounds like everyone else’s, how can your prospects distinguish you from your competitors? What generally happens is they become indecisive, forcing you to be different by adjusting your price. We see it all the time, and I think we will all agree that we don’t want to compete purely on price. So, you need to create a differentiated message to get beyond the obvious identifiable needs. You must set yourself apart by developing an unexpected urgency that will cause your prospects to be drawn to you.
Let’s look at some of the well-known company taglines that should exemplify the heart of their brands, and see how they differentiate themselves from their competitors.
|Nike – Just do it.||Adidas – Impossible is nothing.|
|Apple – Think different.||Microsoft – Your potential. Our Passion. (formerly “Be what’s next.)|
|Costco – Simplifying home and life.||Sam’s Club – Savings made simple.|
|Wal-Mart – Save money. Live better.||Target – Expect more for less.|
|Walgreen’s – At the corner of happy and healthy.||CVS Health – Health is everything.|
|Neiman Marcus – Luxury essentials.||Saks Fifth Avenue – Think about…|
|Lexus – The relentless pursuit of perfection.||Mercedes-Benz – The best or nothing.|
|McDonalds — I’m lovin’ it.||Burger King – Be your way. (formerly “Have it your way”)|
Interesting, isn’t it? You have to wonder how they come up with these taglines. How many are you really familiar with? As for me, I think the Nike tag is the most familiar, though I know several of the others as well, i.e. Walgreen’s, Target, and McDonalds.
The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning – Magical Marketing Strategies for Creating an Endless Stream of New, Repeat, and Referral Business, has been around for a few years, but is well worth revisiting. They are age-old and still relevant.
#1 THOU SHALL NOT COPY
#2 THOU SHALL APPOINT THYSELF
#3 THOU SHALL MAKE THE ORDINARY EXTRAORDINARY
#4 THOU SHALL FIND MORE WITH LESS
#5 THOU SHALL DIVIDE AND CONQUER
#6 THOU SHALL TAKE IT STEP-BY-STEP
#7 THOU SHALL SPEAK SOFTLY (BUT CARRY A BIG STICK)
#8 THOU SHALL BECOME A CELEBRITY
#9 THOU SHALL SEEK OUT AND SPREAD OUT
#10 THOU SHALL MAKE THY NET WORK
Now I will share a personal testimonial of a branding/positioning assignment I had this past year. Madeline Slay came to me and said, “Break me and remake me!” That was a mighty tall request, but I gladly took on the challenge. I knew I didn’t have the skills to manage the entire task, but I definitely knew the people to put on my team to make it happen. Madeline is one of the best architects in San Antonio, and she was ready to step up her game, but knew that she was going to have to make some big changes to bring that element of distinction to the forefront. So, in a nutshell, here’s what happened:
- Renaming her company – Madeline’s company was Madeline Anz Slay Architecture. It sounded like a one-woman shop. My suggestion was to go with Slay Architecture.
- Rebranding her company – Her logo and look now needed to be changed and updated. I brought in a graphic designer, Nathan Schmidt, to design a new logo.
- Website redesign – With the new name and the new logo, her “dated” website needed to be totally updated. Again, Nathan took on the task together with other marketing specialists to redesign her website, www.slayarchitecture.com.
- Professional photography – It is imperative that a professional photographer be engaged for portraits and in Madeline’s case, project pictures, so I engaged Jeff Truitt of Jeffrey Truitt Photography to do all the photography.
- Social media – Knowing that social media must play a major role in the rebranding process, I retained Jennifer Navarrete to create a plan.
Madeline is delighted and we are proud. She has received raving reviews on her new look and new direction. The best news is that many new exciting opportunities have now come her way!
Finally, let me share with you another high profile rebranding initiative that is currently underway. Accion Texas, based in San Antonio and led by Janie Barrera, is the largest micro-lender in the U.S. This is one you can personally watch germinate from the ground up!!
Now expanding way beyond the boundaries of Texas into several other states, it made sense to make the break from “Accion Texas” and to develop an entirely new look and brand. Veteran marketing guru, Steve Atkins of The Atkins Group was retained to rebrand the company. The logo design and colors were created by Josue “Josh” Zapata, a a local independent graphic design artist who owns his own firm, Design Film Firm.
It has officially been announced that the name “Accion Texas” has been changed to “LiftFund”. The tag line is “Dream it. Fund it.” It means that if you need a lift to accomplish your dream, there is a solution. BRILLIANT!!! Do watch what happens with this wonderful organization that serves a much-deserving population. San Antonio can certainly be proud to be the home of LiftFund!
Do yourself a huge favor and check out your message and position. Take a third party position and determine if you would buy your product/service from “you”. If not, invest in making a change in your modus operandi.