Building your brand to break through the clutter.

The digital revolution has transformed the economy, shifting power from companies to the consumers. Essentially, this has changed how businesses operate, making it imperative that a company acts appropriately 24/7. In a sense, technology has made the world smaller, transcended borders of time and space, and put true control at the consumers’ fingertips.

As such, the marketplace went from local to global almost overnight. Consumers are able to purchase products from around the world as opposed to what’s available in driving distance. More options means more purchasing power, and the more power consumers have, the more challenging it is for businesses to differentiate themselves.

There’s never been a more important time for businesses to distinguish themselves and their brand.

On any given day, a consumer is exposed to over 6,000 ads, and each year, more than 25,000 new products. Breaking through has never been harder, but it has also never been more crucial for success.

Building a truly genuine brand is the path to doing just that. Companies that build brands can tell compelling stories, breaking through the noise and establishing that connection with a potential customer. To do so, a company’s products and services should no longer be marketed as mere objects and things, but rather as experiences, in order to stand out in an overly competitive market.

So how can your business stand out in a sea of options? Here’s four steps to get you on that path:

  • Differentiation. Consumers are numb to the amount of advertisements and brands they are exposed to. At times, it can seem like everybody is trying to sell something to you. Your brand needs to be relevant to make a true connection in order to thrive.  It needs to look, sound, and think differently than the rest. Don’t conform to the norm. Be the non-conformist, the outlier, and the best!
  • Create a unique experience. If you can provide a customer experience above and beyond what the competition can, customers will pay for it. The more memorable and meaningful, the greater the competitive advantage. Apple and Starbucks have built their branding almost exclusively around this concept, and yet many businesses still don’t put it into practice. Make a customer’s experience as enjoyable, easy, and accommodating as possible, and they will pay for it.
  • ValueBusinesses that don’t offer a unique selling point are a dime a dozen and blend in. They become a commodity, and are the first to fade away. You must distinguish your company to further create value by bringing something new to the table. Maybe it’s a new product or a new package; maybe it’s the way you offer a service or the little added bonus you slip in at the very end. It’s easier to add a bit more value and if you do so wherever possible, customers will notice.
  • Indulge the sensesWith small businesses marketing the same message, there is a lack of stimuli causing sensory deprivation.  Simply put, they all look, smell, feel, operate, and are thus perceived the same way. Your brand and marketing story needs to engage as many senses during the experience as possible. Maybe you always have fresh flowers in your office or your personnel sports sharp-looking uniforms. All these sensory accents add up to a total experience, which can either be awesome or lackluster.

It is clear that consumers have the choice, and that technological innovation aims to keep it that way.  Nevertheless, you can empower your company by making it clear that you are the smart choice. Stand out in the sea of competitors and you’ll start seeing success seriously snowball.

This article was originally posted on the Graphic D-Signs blog.