Branding Strategy Contradictions

Branding agencies in Los Angeles will try to convince you that answers for branding strategy are clear-cut, and that they have these answers. The reality is often a little less black and white than this. Here are a few examples where the right path forward might be made up of seemingly contradictory advice.

Don’t focus on the competition…

If you’re unsure about who your brand is, the last place you should turn for insight is to other brands. In many ways, defining your brand is a lot like the abstract task of “finding who you are.” It’s difficult to describe, difficult to accomplish, and ultimately must come from you, not someone else. If you make boots, it’s probably not the best idea to start out by taking an assortment of notes on what boot brands look like. Your goal must be, first and foremost, to tell your story.

…but know what they’re up to

Still, insights into who the competition is and what they are offering can be incredibly valuable. A brand and a business is not a dead thing, and certain types of change are healthy. One reason to keep tabs is to see what competitors are up to, to make sure you aren’t being left behind. For example, if all headphone companies online offer free shipping except you, then offering free shipping might be a good idea.

Additionally, it’s helpful to know your competitor’s message so that you’re able to make your brand’s message different. If you know that practically all headphone companies are really hard to get a hold of post-sale, your company has a great opening to stand out. If you are able to offer great customer support, tell everyone! Put it all over your website and marketing material that your brand offers the best support out there. If you succeed in that, you’ve just differentiated your brand.

Be consistently you…

Arguably, the number one thing that makes a brand is consistency. Chains like Applebee’s are popular not because the food is good, and not because they’re cheaper; they are successful because they are able to deliver a consistent eating experience, every time, and people notice.

The same principle must be applied to your brand’s messaging. Naturally, you have different marketing campaigns that bend to reach this or that demographic. But all that your company does, whether it be marketing, new product design, hiring and training employees—everything should be an expression of the brand, or people won’t recognize you.

…but listen to feedback

You’ve got to be you. But if you want to have a successful brand, part of “being you” had better be making your customers or clients happy, and that might require periodic change. Keep your brand healthy through regularly listening to feedback. There are a broad range of ways to accomplish this, and brands should do as many of them as makes sense for their company. There are probably dozens of apps and plug-ins designed to pool feedback electronically; for those with more time, or a greater aversion to apps, simply setting aside 20 minutes a few times each week to give a few customers a call, maybe even with a couple targeted questions, can give you valuable insight, while also building relationships with your customer, and opening you up to referrals.

Meaningful branding is always a challenge, and arriving at a branding strategy that works is part of the fun. As you seek to find meaning in your brand, whether through the help of a Branding agency in Los Angeles, or on your own, be aware: truths about branding can be seemingly contradictory, but a good brand never is.

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