How to stand out with a commodity product.
Do you think that because your product is practically identical to all of your competitors’ that you can’t stand out?
You CAN stand out. In fact, even if your product has fewer features than the competition, you can STILL stand out as the best and gain more market share than those other guys.
Standing out, Step 1:
Make a good first impression.
Products and services are just that: products and services. By themselves, they are purely utilitarian – a means to solve a problem or fulfill a want.
What makes them unique is the company behind them. And what endears customers to one company over another is that company’s brand.
Your brand starts with what you say and how you look.
So look and sound your best! Invest the extra time, energy and cost to finely hone your message for your target market, and polish your corporate identity to a stunning sheen. First impressions count. All other things being equal, customers will find the best sounding and best looking brand to feel the least risky. It’s all about reducing their barrier to trying you first.
Standing out, Step 2:
Create an awesome first date.
Having a great look and message is just the price of admission when it comes to standing out with your brand.
A bad first date can send your new customer speeding to your nearest competitor, with no chance of a second date. So it’s imperative that you create an awesome first experience for your customers that is every bit as delightful as your fantastic message and stunning visual identity.
How to create that awesome first date:
- Make your product easy to find and easy to buy.
- Treat your new customers as if you’re courting them for a serious romance – because you are. That means giving them the best service you know how to give.
- Build your products with the highest possible quality you profitably can. Don’t cut corners. Quality counts. A lot.
- Make the product delivery spectacular – from delivery time to the product’s “unboxing.”
- Be ready to make it right! If anything about the product is anything less than the claims you’ve made, or is in anyway inconsistent with the experience you’ve promised with your beautiful branding, then do whatever it takes to make it right with your customer RIGHT NOW. No excuses, and no blaming the customer. Just find a way to make it right.
- Follow up with your new customers – find out how they enjoyed that first date and let them know you definitely want to see them again.
Standing out, Step 3:
Repeat Step 2. Over and over.
Stand out by building a relationship.
Your brand is nothing less than the relationship you have with your customers. That relationship is built on:
- What you say
- How you appear
- What you do
- How well you treat your customers
- How well you listen to your customer
- How reliable your products and services are for your customers
- How much you help your customers and how rarely (if ever) you let them down
- How you make it right if you ever (accidentally of course) let them down
- How consistent the experience you provide is
In other words, your brand, like any relationship, is based on your customers’ trust in your company. That trust is built or destroyed, bit by bit, with every single interaction your customers have with your company, your staff, and your products and services.
People prefer to stay with people, and companies, they know and trust. In fact, they’ll choose who they know and trust over who they don’t pretty much every single time.
So if you want to stand out from your competitors, do it by not only looking and sounding your best, but also by delivering the best experience you possibly can to your customers. That’s how you’ll go from merely dating to having loving, long-term relationships with your customers.
Building strong brand relationships with your customers requires commitment from the top-down in your organization. It requires having a culture of caring for customers in every way. Without this, no amount of enticing messaging or stunning visuals will keep customers past the first date. As we like to say, “Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.”
Intellectually, this may sound very intuitive. Remarkably, many companies are struggling to implement this. It doesn’t have to be this way. Commit today to making your organization the awesome long-term relationship partner your customers crave.
Summary: How to stand out.
- Look and sound your best
- Deliver a great customer experience from start to finish, every single time
See you next time on the brander’s journey.