Keys to Branding: First up, Simplicity

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

15 April 2014

Too much clutter means you must be clearer

There are many keys to branding. But simplicity demands that you understand your brand in a concise way. That you can speak clearly and succinctly your brand’s value proposition and draw clean comparisons to the brands of your competition. Simplicity is one of the keys to branding.

But simplicity has value all by itself in today’s noisy marketplace. Choices are greater, and product benefits and service offerings often excite the paradox of choice. When the myriad of choices and values become too crowded, prospects are often times paralyzed by the choices. Not because there are so many solutions but because they are afraid of making the wrong decision. In cases like this, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. We call this brand paralysis and it is the enemy of stealing market share.

“Your only ally is simplicity. Simplicity means deciding on the single highest emotional intensity.”

In many ways, this is a conundrum. Brands attempt to make the purchase more important. We hear all the time about brands that understand they are low involvement choices. These brands understand that they need to raise the level of involvement with the customer so they value the purchase more. The idea here is that you are willing to pay a bit more for a product that you deem more important.

keys to brandingThis is right. The greater the importance to the prospect’s self-definition, the more they are willing to pay and the greater your margins and share. But, there is a danger in this too.

The more you emotionally raise the bar of importance, the more prospective customers fear that they could be wrong in their choice. Importance, therefore, equals trepidation in choice.

Many brands think they address this uncertainty by making long lists of product/service benefits. The thinking is that if you cover every objection you are better able to convince the prospect that your brand is a smarter choice. This is very much like advertising on a highway billboard with a couple of paragraphs of mouse type. No one will take the time to read it all or understand it.

Your only ally is simplicity. Simplicity means deciding on the single highest emotional intensity. It demands that a viable brand makes choices so that the customer’s choice is easier.

Messaging today is a cacophony of noise. Speaking simply with great clarity is what separates successful brands from forgettable and unimportant ones. It’s not easy. Among the keys to branding is demanding great discipline and a dispassionate focus on what is ultimately most important. This is why most brands compete only on price and you don’t need a brand to do that. All you need is an accountant.

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