Branding is essential for all companies. Branding is the way you define your business and your identity. You might have a great product, but if you cannot get your branding right, the chances are you’re going to fail. Branding is your chance to show how your business is different.
Here are 6 companies that got their branding right, and what you can learn from them.
Slack came along a few years ago and completely took over the team-chat market. It hit on something that a lot of people already knew—that emails are a terrible way for teams to stay in contact.
But Slack was not the first such tool. Other far more well-known apps like Skype were already providing a similar service.
Slack focused on branding itself effectively to stand out. Of course, the fact that its product is excellent helps, but a product on its own is often not enough.
From the moment it launched, it had a distinct voice combining a professional yet fun and friendly tone. This playful tone helped it forge a more personal connection with its users, building brand loyalty.
It sticks with the same branding to this day. Even when you update the app on your computer, it does not provide a boring list of new features—instead, it injects fun and creativity into its updates to connect with the user. The result is that it feels like there is a dedicated team of real people with real personalities behind the scenes.
You can do the same with your branding. Rather than coming across as cold and distant, make an effort to connect with your users on a more personal level. Show the personality of your brand, and use this to build stronger relationships with your customers.
This is a difficult trick to pull off and needs real expertise to get it right. Investing in a branding specialist helps give you the branding you demand.
Everyone has heard of the Dollar Shave Club by now. This is one small startup that has really kicked above its weight. Competing against true giants like Gillette, it came out of nowhere and is now a thriving business. There are two primary reasons for this.
Firstly, it offered a subscription model. This differentiated it from the big brands whose razors you could only find in a store. It provided a high-quality product at a great price, and indeed its low cost was its main differentiator.
The model also made it more convenient for customers—no more running out of razors. And because new razors are sent regularly, this helps to build and maintain a strong connection with customers.
But someone also had the great idea to create a funny video introducing the brand. It is simple enough, but wildly different from what any other razor company had done before. The hilarious video became a viral hit, and the company never looked back.
The company stood out by taking on its main competitors on price and convenience, but also by taking a completely different approach to its brand image. Could you do the same?
Airbnb is another hugely successful startup, and it’s hard to remember a time when it was not around. Its branding has a large role to play in its success.
Its main competition is the hotel industry, and the company became popular on the basis that you can spend less money staying in someone else’s property and also enjoy an adventure in a more unique place as an alternative to a hotel.
This concept might have seemed odd at first, with questions surrounding safety and cleanliness. But Airbnb made it work. It focused on adventure, the amazing places you could stay, and the greater level of immersion provided, as well as ease of use and lower prices.
Essentially, it showed why it was a better option than a hotel. And it now has a huge community of loyal users all over the world.
The key here was to differentiate itself by offering something that hotels could not. Airbnb found its niche and narrowed its brand audience down to appeal to a specific customer base. Establish what’s unique about your product and focus on this in your branding to make yourself stand out.
GoPro is essentially a digital camera company, but it is also much more than that. While there are other rugged cameras on the market, GoPro built its business around the idea of sharing and community. Rather than just provide an excellent camera, it focused on creating experiences and sharing them with others.
GoPro created a brand story around capturing amazing moments and sharing them with friends. Its cameras are excellent, but its focus on the shared experience is what made it the number-one brand.
When amazing videos created by people skydiving and surfing go viral, there’s a good chance they were created on a GoPro. As a result, the customers did the marketing for the company and highlighted its focus on sharing. Now, GoPro is the name you think of when you want to capture an amazing experience.
Your brand story plays a vital role in your branding, so use it to form a personal connection with your customers. How does your product reach people and change their lives?
Chipotle, the Mexican restaurant chain, knew it had tough competition in the shape of Taco Bell. So it took a different angle.
While Taco Bell focused on providing low-cost food, Chipotle went for quality. Its branding focused on a better atmosphere, a more enjoyable all-around experience, better ingredients and cooking styles, cool interior design, and concern for the environment.
In short, it offered something very different to redefine the fast food experience.
Take a different approach to your branding. If you have an existing competitor that focuses on price, don’t try and take them on (unless you can genuinely provide a cheaper experience).
Uber is the giant of the ride-sharing applications, and it was first on the scene. But Lyft has created a successful company after breaking into the market later on. The two companies provide the same thing, but their branding is very different.
Lyft needed to provide a different experience to Uber. So it launched with pink branding and a focus on being friendly. It encouraged passengers to talk to their drivers, and the focus was on friendliness.
Lyft was forced to be different to be able to provide something unique while essentially providing the same thing. As a result, it became a very distinct company that now boasts many loyal customers.
If you are entering a market dominated by one player, how can you use branding to stand out? Even if you are offering a very similar product or service, your branding can help you to provide something different at the same time and win a share of the market.
There is no one secret to successful branding. As you can see from the examples above, they all have different ways in which they achieved branding success.
The key factors to focus on are to make sure you are different from the competition, that you stand out, and that you don’t just do the same thing. Create a memorable experience, be consistent, and give yourself the best possible chance of success.
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