Alternatives > Competitors

An excerpt from Obviously Awesome.

May 25, 2020

This is the first in a small series of punches surrounding April Dunford's Obviously Awesome! and how good positioning relates to good branding. Enjoy!

Positioning is where your company falls in the mind of consumers. Specifically, why your company should matter to them. In here book, Obviously Awesome! April Dunford breaks down effective positioning into 5 steps with an occasional 6th. First things first, examine what's already out there and what people might do, or currently be doing instead of using your product/services.

Note, it's not about being "better" necessarily, but more about assessing why these alternatives to your solution are being used.

In branding, this step in crucial in assessing the emotional alternatives to your company.

What is it about brand x that makes it so special? What do I feel differently about them versus brand y?

Attacking this from the angle of "how are they different?" instead of "how are they better?" is crucial to understanding their positioning and where there is space for your brand to be positioning without being labeled a copycat.

More you say?

A Thousand Tiny Cuts

The small things that stop you from looking legit.

5.18.2020

A buddy of mine and I have started looking for apartments to rent. Scammers have been rampant, so we're extra cautious.

One realtor had sent my friend an application, his license number, and lease agreements. My buddy sent them to me asking, "is this legit?"

I could see where he was suspicious. The design of the application was shotty and it made his ears perk up. It was a lot of small things like misaligned typography, no consistency in colors, no logo for the company, no footer. Not only from a design perspective, but things like not have a dedicated domain for this company and instead using a Gmail address made this entire experience feel scammy.

Despite the fact that he did indeed have a license number, his brand and legitimacy were being put to death by a thousand tiny cuts. Small wounds that bled his company of its worth and value.

Point being, the small interactions are where you get a chance to prove yourself as something legit and unique. Never underestimate them.

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Hip-to-Hip

How to position your brand for your customers.

10.29.2020

Your brand needs to be cherished by someone. That person is your super fan, someone who will love your brand, buy anything you create, and share it with the world. They are a tribal advocate for your company. Here is how you can make sure you are creating something this person will appreciate:

1. Demographics

This is the easiest part. List some key elements of this person to get a starting point for who they are. This will include:

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Geography
  • Marital Status
  • Education
  • Employment/Occupation

2. External Desires

What are they coming to you for? This could include:

  • A product or service
  • Education
  • Expertise

3. Internal Desires

WHY are these things important and what are they looking to accomplish.

  • A product or service -> to do what?
  • Education -> to do what?
  • Expertise -> to do what?

4. Alliance

Is there a grander battle that you are both fighting?

  • (Blank) should not be this way
  • Social, political concern
  • Global problem
  • Philosophical battle (fighting against data selling, fight for free speech, etc)

5. Stakes

What is at stake if these desires are not met? Some examples:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Loss of time
  • Missed opportunity
  • Weakness

6. Lifestyle elements

Make sure your brand aligns with this person's lifestyle. List out some key things we all use/partake in:

  • How/Where/What does this person eat?
  • What clothes do they wear?
  • Hobbies/Fun activities
  • Toys and gadgets they use every day

7. Muses

What and who inspires this person to get out of bed in the morning?

  • Favorite music artists
  • Inspirational figures (politicians, authors, speakers, etc)
  • Books and podcasts
  • Beliefs and causes (criminal justice reform, environmental advocacy, childhood obesity, etc)

8. Define patterns

Look at everything you've written down. Do you notice a pattern in purchase behavior? Is this person looking for a deal or do they spend on value? Do they care about aesthetics? Are they conservative or edgy?

Are there patterns in the things that inspire them (boisterous attitudes vs strong silent leadership)? How about the topics being discussed, can you relate and speak on these as well?

The point here is to immerse yourself in this person's world and see how you can add to it. More importantly, to see how you can add to it and be easily accepted into their lifestyle, rather than forcing a lifestyle upon them. If that is what you find yourself doing, you need to either reposition your brand for a new audience or mold it to your current super fan.

Your brand needs to walk alongside them, hip-to-hip.

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