Coke or Pepsi? Apple or Microsoft? What makes us choose one versus the other? It’s bigger than just understanding the customer journey and decision pathway. It’s about what compels you to want one brand over another. It’s about what you stand for and what that means to people.
For me, it’s the way Starbucks creates fun, engaging games that I can play from my mobile device during my morning commute and gives me a free beverage on my birthday. It’s the way Petco takes such good care of our puppy during a visit, offering him treats and toys. And it’s the way Bloomingdales treats its Loyalists to exclusive offers, sneak peeks at sales and unlimited free shipping.
Making your brand position meaningful and powerful is critical. This is especially true in a fast-paced, crowded market. This comes from understanding the intersection between the consumer, the market, your brand, and the human value you offer.
Piece of cake! Right?
The good news is that you have the power to get to the heart of how you provide a real value add for consumers, are viewed in relation to your competitors, and can connect to consumers on an emotional level.
I would define Amazon by our big ideas, which are customer centricity, putting the customer at the center of everything we do.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Digging into how consumers in your category fulfill critical jobs is the best way to understand how your brand does/can meet their needs. This will give you the foundation for focusing a lens on you versus your competition to identify opportunities and differentiators.
Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.” – Larry Page, Google
Understanding how consumers perceive your brand and competitors not only helps you identify which brands are strongest at delivering on the critical jobs they perform. It helps you identify opportunity areas for today and the future, leading to an innovation and differentiation roadmap.
This is a very complicated world; it’s a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get the chance to get people to remember much about us… So we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.” – Steve Jobs, Apple
Brand values and vision must shine through in everything you do. Consumers value the emotional connection. Examining whether your values match up with what consumers believe you stand for will help you clarify and strengthen that relationship.
In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.” – Howard Schultz, Starbucks
All of these things lead to a human connection, which is more than just the features and benefits you provide. Consumers are overwhelmed with choices, making it challenging to cut through and build loyalty. Finding the best way to create human value is paramount. Connecting what you know about the jobs consumers are looking for you to fulfill, how you stack up versus the competition, and whether your core values are coming through will allow you to deliver that human value that is so important to brand success.
Evaluating the consumer, the market, your brand, and the human value you offer is the first step toward making your brand position meaningful and powerful. From there, you can build and test communication and messaging platforms to grow your relationships and attract new customers.
Coming back to Starbucks, Petco and Bloomingdales, these brands have shaped their categories by staying relevant and keeping their consumers and values at the forefront of everything they do Starbucks is there when I need a break and adds excitement to my day. Petco makes us feel like our puppy is in good hands. And Bloomingdales knows how to make me feel extra special. Each has found the sweet spot that makes me, the human at the center of the equation, feel a connection to that brand.
Looking to evaluate how the consumer, the market, your brand, and the human value you offer play into your brand position?