Every company will face competition at some point, and most will walk straight into a competitive industry with a new brand, screaming “Hey, look at me!” You might come into the market with a lower cost, more advanced software, or even an all around better product or service, but how do you compete with the brands that already exist in people’s minds? How do you survive in this crowded cutthroat environment? Own a word. This is one of the main points in Al and Laura Ries’ “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding.”
People have the attention span of 8 seconds (FYI-a goldfish has a longer attention span than humans, at 9 seconds). So instead of asking prospects to remember your 3 key competitive advantages, like “low cost, high quality, custom design,” give them ONE WORD. Own a word. Let people associate your brand with one word and let it speak of your company, your product, and what you do really well.
Take these companies and word associations as examples…
• Mercedes-Benz- “prestige”
• Volvo- “safety”
• BMW- “driving”
Make it honest. The word you claim has to not only be different than your competitors, it has to be true. Volvo couldn’t claim “safety” if it failed all safety tests. Another tip is to make your word a verb, a word that involves taking action. Do you “search” for something, or do you “Google” something? Do you “copy” something, or do you “Xerox” something? These verbs have become interchangeable with the company that represents them. That should be the ultimate goal. And when you find that word, put it on EVERYTHING. Make it stick and make it known.
Owning a word doesn’t cost a penny, but the lasting effect it could have is worth everything!