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Leadership

Three Steps To Determine If Your Brand Is Competitive

by Will Straughn

Forbes competitive

oday, brands can no longer compete on just features and prices. To truly lead in your category, you also need to lead with your branding. A strong, best-in-class brand can be the factor that breaks you out of the commodity battle and positions your organization for success.

To start, I recommend you pull up your website alongside the sites of your closest competitors. Comparing them this way is similar to how your potential customers first look at you. Now, hold up your hand and cover the logo between each site. I want you to look at three things:

Visual Identity

What are the common visual trends you see across each competitor’s site, excluding the logo? Are four out of the five companies utilizing the same color palette? Is anyone using typography in a unique or own-able way? Do you find it odd that you are all pulling from the same stock photo banks? Now that you’ve done this baseline evaluation, does anyone stand out or feel different? If the answer is no, then here is your first opportunity, ripe for the taking. Find a way to create a unique visual identity whether it comes to color palette, typography or images.

Communications and Copy

Leading brands can no longer solely rely on looking good. To win, and win often, you need to sound just as impressive as how you visually present yourself. Your words carry weight. Bouncing between the competitors and your brand, does anyone sound different? Do you all use the same excruciatingly boring jargon that is never actually used in real life? It’s best to think of your brand as a living, breathing person with its own unique personality traits. If everyone including you sounds bland to read, here is your second opportunity to differentiate. Don’t be afraid to inject a little personality, especially within B2B companies.

A Greater Purpose

The last and probably most important thing to look at is whether anyone stands for something. If you look at category-leading organizations, they often highlight a greater purpose beyond the service they provide or the product they make. Purpose-driven brands invite people to have an emotional and human connection, giving customers something to align themselves with beyond the service or product.

By allowing your audience the opportunity to resonate with you on this more human level, you create a deeper sense of brand loyalty and recognition. If your brand is just an empty shell that creates a widget, you can, and will, be easily replaced by the new kid in town. Choose to build your brand around something more significant, and you’ll give your customers, prospects and employees something to rally around.

Now, you may feel a little silly covering up logos and clicking between websites, but do any of your competitors actually feel like they are trying to dominate in your category through branding? If the answer is no, then this is an incredible opportunity for your business. Don’t let it pass you by.

Originally published on Forbes on October 29, 2021.

Photos by Nick Fewings and Hassan Pasha on Unsplash

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