Have you heard that?

by Kapil Vaishnani  |  18th Jan, 2016 in Branding

“You all sound alike. I can’t tell you apart”

If you’ve heard that complaint from a prospect, you need to be worried. You are pushing a Me-too brand that’s not creating any excitement in the category. Worse, you are not seen as competition in your category – that can be a serious thing.

You appear and sound like everybody else, so your customers are confused. They can’t differentiate you from other brands. As a consequence, you start losing out on leads and sales.
The problem with a non-differentiated category, choc a block with Me-too products is that when prospects can’t tell you apart from the competition, they fall back on other, secondary sources of information – what’s trending, where are you located, what’s the market buzz about you, and, worse, are you the cheapest product in the market?

On the other end of the spectrum are companies that stand tall among the crowd. They speak in a clear, distinctive, unique voice, very much their own.  Think of Microsoft, LinkedIn, Unilever, Yamaha, Cisco, IBM, Facebook or Google.

What do they have in common?

They have mastered the art of cutting through the clutter. They position themselves as peerless. The ONLY choice of their fan followers.

Here are a few other examples worthy of mention: https://www.lush.com/ Unlike any other makeup brands, this company doesn’t sell products. They sell a unique outlook; their understanding of beauty accomplished with ‘hand-made’ cosmetics, whatever that implies. Watch the psychedelic video that plays out on the brand’s Home page with a peppy number. No visuals, no distracting images, just a riot of lush colors sprayed on the screen – it’s truly lush!

Then there is Illy Coffee, the first global brand coffee in the world and the video that communicates the electric impact of espresso on a guy reeling from the impact of a rave party and dealing with next morning’s hangover. The antidote – with its potent aroma, outstanding taste and authentic Italian experience has more impact than he had bargained for. It gives him an instant high and the touch of ribald humor works! ! The next name that strikes to my mind is the iconic British tea brand Twinings with a 300 years old history behind it. Sold in over 100 countries, it has turned non-tea drinking countries into compulsive tea consumers. Their USP: Their quintessential British approach to market communication! Pretty, petite, and poetic – and once again it works, only for this brand!

Less poetic, but equally powerful is the Federal Express video.  A courier company known for living up to its name and big numbers – says it clearly and unambiguously in this communication.

The long and short of the story is that in order to deliver the message home, your market communication must be as unique as your thumb print. You could choose to be poetic and polite (Twining); or brash and in-your face (Illy Coffee), or simply number crunching – is you are saying something that resonates with your audience, flows straight from the gut and is authentic – trust that you will leave a mark.

When you appear like everyone else, you get lost in the crowd. Jump up and down, try different antics that go with your brand DNA, yell, appeal – do anything to cut voice – just stay true to your brand and its USP.
The rest will come easy.

Founder - Chairman, Litmus Branding Pvt. Ltd.
Who am I?
The name that was given to me and a few designations after that.

But here’s how I define this ‘who’-
The one who is still unsuccessful in breaking the myth, “truth is only that which I have understood”.

The one who finds joy in coming across the perfect ideas through बातचीत.

The one who struggles to improve his net game on the tennis court.

And the one who wants to ‘Just Be’.

Just be present with full absence & be absent with full presence.

That’s who I am.

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