Question: What do all businesses have in common?
Answer: They all need clients to survive.
There are endless possibilities to build brand awareness and constantly attract new clients: SEO, Social media, Partnerships with Influencers, etc. These are great marketing strategies and are proven to work. For the most part, they are tools to execute your marketing strategy. However, without proper planning, they will tend to be costly and need constant maintenance and update. Also, these techniques have been discussed in thousands of articles online. If you want to learn about them, you are in the wrong place. If you want to understand the philosophy behind the foundations that set the tone of the strategies cited above, you are in the right spot! At TheBrandformer, we believe that in a highly competitive business landscape, establishing a robust brand presence will help your brand safely sail the dangerous waters, while attracting and retaining customers. By defining 6 distinct concepts for your brand awareness strategy based on your company’s values you can lay the groundwork for building trust and credibility, help your company be different, adapt and influence consumer behavior, and improve your brand’s reach and visibility. Okay, let’s see how you can do this.
The 6 Pillars of Distinction:
If we picture brand awareness being a house, and each specific strategy/tool to raise brand awareness as a room in the house, the following fundamental concepts would be the foundational that hold the house. and that’s where the term “ The 6 Pillars of Distinction” came from. Cutting through the noise of the millions of brands out there can sometimes be very challenging. At the risk of going unnoticed, your brand needs to have its own characteristics and personality to stand out. Certain aspects of your brand are simply unavoidable when it comes to raising awareness and effectively communicating your identity to customers. To help you visualize these pillars, let us use the example of Apple. Steve Jobs once said, “What is Apple? Apple is about people who think outside the box, people who want to use computers to help them change the world, to help them create things that make a difference, and not just to get a job done.” This clearly illustrates the essence of Apple’s brand and its commitment to innovation and creativity.
At last, the 6 Pillars of Distinction:
- Pillar 1 – Value Proposition: First, identify a unique selling point, highlight it as the thing that sets your brand apart, and then use it as a recognizable aspect of your brand! Let’s now learn from the best. Whether you’ve fully familiarized yourself with Apple’s value proposition, you intuitively know it. Apple’s value propositions encompass appealing to those who “Think Different” and providing top-notch, reliable technology. Moreover, they have increasingly emphasized granting users control over their privacy, a substantial advantage in the current tech market.
- Pillar 2 – Brand Story: We all know the story of Apple, how these guys emerged from a garage of a small house with this alien-like machine that was going to revolutionize the planet. The story is that with hard work, perseverance, and creativity you can create wonders. Even in a small garage. We all have our own garage, whether your actual garage, your office, or your room and desk. This story makes the brand relatable and so close to you that you could almost touch it with your own hands. Designing a brand story helps you convey to the consumer what is the story behind your brand and your product. Sharing the story behind a brand gives it soul, personality, humanizes it, and makes it stand out from other brands.
- Pillar 3 – Service/product differentiation: If you emphasize how what you sell adds value to the lives of prospects you will help them develop clarity and understand if you are offering them superior functionalities, cheaper prices, customization options, eco-friendly attributes, etc. Can you guess how Apple differentiated their product? The instinctive strategy of most brands is to differentiate by pricing them lower than the market. Apple does the exact opposite! They incorporate new technologies with a unique user experience and emphasize it by pricing their products higher than the competitors to imply the superiority of their products. This has always been the strategy of Apple which anchored the awareness of the brand and sat in stone in the consumers’ minds that if they want the latest technology or a material product that implies a certain style of life, they know exactly what to get. The latest example of this is the introduction of the new Apple AR/VR headset, the Apple Vision Pro – magic-like functionalities, superior product, superior price.
- Pillar 4 – Audience Focused marketing: Creating brand awareness through specific marketing efforts is a powerful weapon. Basing your marketing and messaging strategies on the voice and personality you gave your brand will not only attract your target group, but it will set in stone the kind of brand and vision you have! Let’s take a closer look at Apple, again. When the first Mac was introduced, it became clear that Apple was targeting individuals who saw themselves as “out-of-the-box thinkers.” Building on this reputation, Apple continued to create products like the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods, each with its own distinct design. These products appealed to people who sought something unique and different from the norm.
- Pillar 5 – Customer Experience: One of the biggest complaints customers have about most businesses is their customer service. If you can create an exceptional, thorough, and thoughtful customer experience, it can be a real game changer. If you don’t have the best product out thereand you’re not offering the best prices, a (positive) memorable customer experience will most definitely set your brand apart and leave a (positive) lasting impression on the customers. Happy customers who feel valued and well-treated will become agents of your brand awareness strategy and a magnet for new customers.
Whether pre-purchase or post-purchase, Apple’s customer service makes you feel heard, understood, and helps you find clarity and answers to your questions. I personally only had to deal one time with the post-purchase customer service of Apple, and the service was so amazing that I remember it to this day! We usually say that bad experiences are remembered more than good ones. I’d say exceptional experiences are remembered even more!
- Pillar 6 – MDB: Messaging, Design & Branding:
On the same note, an appealing & (most importantly) relevant brand identity gives your brand better chances to stand out and catch the eye of the prospect. It also speaks of the character and personality of your brand. These aspects will ultimately also help with your brand’s visibility and create lasting impressions on prospects & customers.
With a combination of lifestyle branding, aspirational branding, emotional appeal, and esthetic appeal, Apple created the perfect recipe to speak to the hearts and deep desires of consumers and once again, subtly strengthen its brand awareness.
These foundational elements are live organisms of your company. The examples of Apple can also be found with different approaches and in various leading companies. The fun part lies in finding the distinction with your brand. These foundational elements are to be revisited, updated, and improved in order to face any changes in consumer behavior, feedback from the customers, or changes in the industry or the market you are playing in. Brand awareness and customer acquisition have multiple facets. This subject is to be continued in an upcoming article where we will discuss how to adapt to changes in consumer behaviors and how to expand reach and visibility for a scaling strategy. In the meantime, you can benefit by signing up to our newsletter – promise, you won’t miss the next chapters.