Why Your Brand Doesn’t Have to Be Totally Unique

It’s tempting to want your brand to be completely unique. The reality is, that’s near impossible. And not necessarily good for business.

Why Being Totally Unique Doesn’t Matter

No business is completely original. There will always be competitors out there who do something similar. But this is a good thing! It means there’s a market for what you’re offering, and a guaranteed audience.

Have you ever heard someone pitch an idea as “it’s Uber but for…”? There’s a reason for this. Many “original” business ideas actually take how one company works and apply it elsewhere. When you think about it, Uber is just taxis for mobile.

“It means there’s a market for what you’re offering, and a guaranteed audience. “

The point of difference comes from defining who you are. This doesn’t have to be mind-blowingly different, but it does have to be thought out.

Why Distinctiveness Totally Matters

Same, same, but different.

You might sell the same thing as your competitors, but how you talk about it, present it, and what you value will set you apart.

Major successful marketing companies all say the same thing: find your distinctive asset. Often this is your USP (Unique Selling Point). It’s likely your USP helps form your distinctive brand assets, such as your logo or slogan.

Marketing Science Institute Ehrenberg-Bass created this diagram to measure how distinctive certain assets of your brand are. The Uniqueness score indicates how truly original the brand asset is—whether it’s a colour, symbol, phrase, etc. The Fame percentage is how much consumers associate that brand asset exclusively with your company.

It’s important to remember that you don’t need all of your brand assets to score near the target corner. For example, you might capitalise on a symbol, as McDonald’s has done with their Golden Arches (which even have their own Wikipedia page).

How do you make your brand stand out? Have at least one distinctive asset.

distinctive asset

Consider Coca-Cola, arguably the most recognisable brand in the world. Do you know their current slogan off the top of your head? It’s “taste the feeling”. But it actually doesn’t matter if their slogan is 100% unique and famous, as they already have so many other brand assets to rely on.

“Your brand story is most useful when shaping your brand’s distinctiveness.”

So when it comes to your own brand, ask yourself: What do I want to be associated exclusively with my brand?

How to Totally Nail Distinctiveness

Before diving into colour choices and logo design, uncover your brand’s USP and personality. This is where your brand story comes in.

Your brand story will detail who you are, what you do, why you do it and what sets you apart. Your brand story is most useful when shaping your brand’s distinctiveness.

Tone of voice also plays a big role in distinguishing your brand. It’s the way you deliver the message to your audience, so it deserves consideration.

Think of your key messages, and how they can be more enticing, more emotional, more clever than brands similar to yours. Such as when Apple, instead of boasting the gigabyte size of their iPods, equated it to “10,000 songs in your pocket”.

Once your brand story is clear, your brand design needs to match. Remember, you want at least one brand asset to be unique and readily associated with your brand.

By now you should feel comforted that you don’t need to have the world’s most original business idea to succeed. You do, however, need distinctive design and personality, and that’s where we come in.

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