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Take your brand from unremarkable to distinct to extraordinary

Something’s not quite right with the brand. There are symptoms. It feels like the business is harder. Winning customers has become more difficult. You have trouble standing out in a crowded marketplace. You can’t seem to break through the clutter. So prospects don’t know who you are. And if they do recognize you, they don’t recognize why they should care.

Most of these problems with the brand point to the need for a sharper focus. Prospects need to understand the promise of the brand (without having to dig for it.) Moreover, they need to recognize why that promise is essential to their lives. This is what makes you distinct to them.

It’s time to revisit your value proposition or unique selling proposition (USP). You have to reaffirm why you are distinct. There are four questions to ask that will help sharpen the story of the value you bring.

  1. Who are you serving?
  2. What do you offer?
  3. Why is it unlike the other offerings out there?
  4. What does your offering do for those you serve?

Answer those questions and you can craft your value proposition. To bring it to life, start by using this structure:

We create ________ (What do you offer?) For ________ (Who are you serving) And unlike ________ (Why is it unlike the other offerings out there?) It helps those who we are serving ________ (What does your offering do for those you serve?)

Work on this statement. Make it distinct. Make it your own. It will help give your brand the focus that it has been missing

But what if you wanted to go past simply having focus?

Being distinct is mandatory today. But if you really want the brand to have impact, it must be inspiring. That means speaking to the aspirations of those you hope to serve.

This requires clarifying the larger purpose (I call it the Big Audacious Meaning) that the brand serves. Then using that purpose to transform the value proposition.

This purpose lies at the intersection of three questions:

  1. What are you best at that makes a difference for others?
  2. What are you passionate about that makes a difference for others?
  3. What is the profound difference you could make for an individual, a community, or even the world?

Answer these questions. Then, go back to your value proposition and make it inspirational. Speak to those aspirations of those you hope to serve. Here’s a quick example. Clarifying a purpose is the difference between Starbucks saying:

“To give people a great way to treat themselves.”

And, instead, championing this (their purpose):

“To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”

Don’t underestimate what your brand is capable of. Most of all, don’t sandbag, settling for something banal because it won’t stir up criticism. Be courageous. Your brand can make a difference. You have to believe it. And claim it. Then prepare for just how extraordinary it can become.

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.

Originally published at https://www.dansalva.com on November 7, 2019.

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Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail.

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