A crucial part of branding is differentiating your brand from your competitors, so you stand out.
Although consistency is super important, so is differentiating yourself from your competitors. Consumers need to be able to see a brand and identify who’s talking to them and what they are saying. Otherwise, you could quite literally be helping your competition. For example, I can conduct a quick search online for a dermatologist, and I land on Derm A’s website, peruse it, think it looks good, and shut it down with the intent to make an appointment later. In two days, I’m telling myself I really need to get that mole checked, and I search again. This time, I land on Derm B’s website, but it’s the exact same colors, so I call and make an appointment because I don’t know it’s different from what I originally saw. I’m clearly generalizing here, and most people would recognize a different name, but you get the point. If I’m unfamiliar with a brand, I don’t have much to go on to have a connection to them. Part of the connection comes from the logo, the tonality, etc., but in our fast-paced society, colors and visuals do make a difference.
Lots of brands are fighting for eyeballs for very similar products. Differentiating from your competitors will lead to better recognition and recall. Here’s an example of a brand that differentiates itself so well that when their founders reached out to get marketing strategy help from us, I was actually super excited to be interacting with them! The world of craft breweries has become very crowded and although beer aficionados would disagree, there’s not a whole lot that really differentiates the products. If the product can’t be differentiated a whole lot, at least the brand can be. Enter Bitchin’ Kitten Brewery. Listen, I’m not a cat person by any means (team dog); however, every little detail was done so well that I became an immediate follower of the brand. They had fun with cat memes at every chance they could and every detail from the bathroom tchotchkes to their signage that included cats. To top it off, they give a portion of the proceeds to a cat non-profit, so they’re putting even more meaning behind their name.
I became obsessed with their brand because it was so completely different from any other beer brand I’d ever seen. When a beer cat meme came across my social media feed, I knew exactly who was messaging me. I was curious to see how they were going to continue the narrative they started by incorporating two completely different subject matters (beer and cats) and time after time they nailed it. They also clearly have fun with their brand. I am constantly telling our food clients to have fun with their branding. Food is fun; it’s one of life’s pleasures and should be treated as such.
Brand Essence Differentiation
This example has been written about before, but it’s too good not to mention. When you think of a water brand, what comes to mind? Fresh valleys and streams, perhaps? Lots of blues and greens to signify healthy? I’m going to guess that death and scary thoughts didn’t even enter your mind. That’s why Liquid Death is so amazing. It’s a water brand that went in a completely 180-degree direction to stand out from its competitors. The tone and essence is not like any other water brand out there … Their tagline is “Murder Your Thirst.”
Clearly, they’re targeting a younger demographic, but when a younger person is selecting water, do you think they’ll pick the tried and true water brands that all look the same or the one that stands out and makes an impression? This brand is now so loved that they have a club and sell brand merch. Let that sink in, a water brand selling merch! They’re a case study in why to do the opposite of what all of your competitors are doing.
Other Awesome Brand Differentiators
Walking around my neighborhood one day, I saw a small car with a huge hornet on it. Obviously, it caught my attention. The marketer in me could not have been more proud. It was for a company called Akita Pest Control. There are many ways this company could have branded their car. They could have slapped a magnet on the car, or very neatly wrapped their car with their logo and tagline, but instead they understood that more people would take note if they added something unexpected to the vehicle. I am not by any means saying to do something unexpected and off-brand. Customers will see through the inauthenticity of the brand in this scenario. However, instead of taking the obvious and easy (and usually cheaper) way out, really think through how differentiating your brand, your product, and your marketing will pay off in the long run. Making a statement with your brand allows customers to make a mental memory of your brand, so even though I wasn’t in need of pest control at the time I saw their company car, you can trust they would be at the top of my mind if the need arises!
Ready to Differentiate?
Whether you’re putting together a business plan for a new concept or ready to add some differentiation to your established brand, Elysium Marketing Group is here to help your brand stand out amongst the crowd! Our full-service Philadelphia-based marketing agency is equipped with marketing strategists and award-winning creative to brainstorm, design and implement a brand that will capture your customers’ attention and make an impact that they’ll remember.
Learn more about Elysium Marketing Group or call 484-684-7420.
Elyse Lupin is the President and Founder of the Ambler-based full-service marketing agency, Elysium Marketing Group. Elyse and her award-winning team provide expertise in the areas of marketing strategy and creative, digital marketing, lead generation, food and franchise marketing, branding, and brand strategy.