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How can I make my brand stand out and cut through in a crowded market?

Getting your brand to stand out from the competition and be the first that comes your audience’s mind isn’t easy, many fade into the background, but there four golden principles to follow.

1. Build your Distinctive Brand Assets

Distinctive Brand Assets are elements of your brand’s identity, whether visual, aural or written that are so widely known and uniquely linked to your brand that they can stand in place of your brand’s name. Think McDonald’s Golden Arches, Coca Cola’s bottle shape or Marmite’s “love it or hate it” strapline. Have one or more Distinctive Brand Assets makes it much easier for your communications to recognised as coming from your brand, gives you more creative flexibility in how to signal your brand and makes your packaging easier to spot at the point of purchase.

First – You need to know which of your brand’s assets are genuinely distinctive or could be developed to be distinctive. This may involve some audience research

Second – Develop a strategy for using existing assets and potentially developing new ones. For example, your brand may not have an aural brand asset which come in very handy when doing radio advertising.

Third – continuously use your brand assts alongside the brand name until they become well enough known to use in isolation. This takes commitment but the investment will pay off

2. Tell a human story

People don’t want to see adverts from brands. They want to entertained by their favourite TV show, see what their friends are up to via social media or listen to a podcast. This means if you want people to pay any attention you communication needs to be equally as entertaining, moving or intriguing. Be funny, sad, cheesy – even shocking if it’s right for your brand, just don’t expect people to notice your brand if it’s boring.

3. Be consistent

It takes seeing more than a couple of ads or social posts for your audience to to start to remember what you are telling them. Brands that become famous and stand out from the are the ones that communicate the same core message over years and so create a memory in the minds of their audience. This doesn’t mean you can’t vary your creative. The same story can be told in multiple ways, but don’t change it for the sake of it.

4. When everyone zigs, zag

To stand out from the crowd you can’t follow them. This is where you might need to be a bit brave. Does every other brand have the same perspective on the category experience? You need to take the opposite perspective. Is everyone other brand using blue to signal the category? Maybe you need to use red.

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