The world is drowning in brands and businesses and we are inundated with messaging daily from all of them.
So, what is it that draws us to specific brands and makes them stand out from the competition? Surely being labelled as ‘stand-out’ means that you hit the nail on the head, every time.
Often, it’s a combination, if not all, of these elements:
You know your audience well
Your offering, values, vision and identity resonates with your audience, drawing them to forge a connection with you. You care about them, and you care about what they care about too.
Your brand is original
Your product and/or service offering might not be, but your brand should still be authentic and original.
You have created a brand that has a bold identity and vision
From design and visual elements to language, tone and causes you support – you can’t be overly cautious or sit on the fence and expect to stand out and gain traction.
You demonstrate consistency
Inconsistency means you’ll blend into the background and alienate your audience. If you don’t demonstrate integrity to your brand or marketing strategies, you can never become familiar to your audience, and suddenly the seed of mistrust is planted.
You are visible
Stand content marketing and social media will drive some traffic to your website and improve organic traffic, the only way to build your brand and reputation is by being as visible as possible. Are you on their (multiple) social feeds, in their inbox, on the websites they visit, publications they read, using influencers they follow? Diversify and conquer is the way forward.
We thought we would share some of our favourite or stand out brands, and why we have such an affiliation with them to showcase these points.
BrewDog – A bold company that isn’t afraid to make a bold statement. I like its beer and I like the fact BrewDog takes a strong stance on big topics – and often with a good dose of humour too.
The RHS – completely different from BrewDog! The RHS has completely adapted – and quickly – to the current situation and I really admire that. Shifting so quickly to virtual formats and still offering truly valuable content is no mean feat.
Lucy & Yak – The brand’s values and products are completely in line with serious consumer demand right now. So many people want ethically-produced, sustainably made products that they can be proud to wear – Lucy & Yak offer just that. At the same time, the fashion brand’s marketing has created a really positive community of likeminded advocates. And that really says something!
Innocent – This brand always manages to come up with new, engaging and enjoyable posts across all of the social platforms. And let’s face it, the “blue” campaign might have been dragged out, but it was absolutely brilliant. Innocent is always consumer friendly, funny – but at the right times – and has just the right amount of sass when replying to audience engagement. Even job listings on LinkedIn are lighthearted.
Above all, Innocent is HUMAN. During lockdown the brand has been posting “Daily updates” on Facebook which include a “Working from home challenge” and a pet submission from one of its employees. On LinkedIn, this cute infographic was posted. It’s lovely.
Also, additional points for Innocent for doing something sweet during the coronavirus breakout – The Big Chin Wag. You can submit a message that you want to send to a friend, family member (or ask them to write to you!) and the business will post it for you completely free of charge on a quirky little postcard.
Snag Tights – This company makes tights that actually fit (seriously, I highly recommend). The company has struggled during the lockdown, nearly going out of business, but after an appeal it has since been rescued by customers buying vouchers in advance.
It is an all-inclusive brand and uses models of all shapes and sizes to promote the product. Social content also includes posts on useful ways to re-use your tights if you get a hole in them or they become worn. The brand is human-centric, connecting with its consumers.
Huel – True digital marketing genius. There are so many articles around what the team at Huel has done to propel the business to where it is by using influencer and social marketing. I’ve still never bought the product – but from a professional standpoint, I respect that the brand has done amazingly well to get to where it is.
Guinness – Firstly, I like Guinness for the taste! But secondly for the sheer creativity and clever copywriting that is produced around a pint. Lastly, the brand is incredible at aligning events and sponsorship with its audience.
Spotify –I like the brand look but also how the business keeps innovating. Music suggestions, the personalised approach to bringing my whole year of music together for me as well as collecting all the music on my family account and creating playlists for us all. Spotify’s OOH marketing is really engaging too.
Jamie Oliver – He’s had a few bumps in the road over the last few years but he’s my go to chef for recipes and food inspiration. He’s covered most channels, and is really visible, but I particularly engage with his YouTube channel ‘Food Tube’ as it widens up to a community of chefs under his brand. He’s always stayed true to himself, it’s very authentic.
Greggs -I love the humour and sarcastic nature of this brand’s marketing! The tone and messaging are carried through to audience’s engagement and responses on social, too. Taking the mick out of M&S ‘This isn’t just a steak bake…’, Apple-style product launches and sausage roll bouquets for Valentine’s Day… and for the odd cheeky PR stunt (putting up a Greggs store sign backwards to get free promo from Fenwick’s window display opposite them!).
Spotify – The range of products Spotify offers keeps evolving, and I love its personalised and tailored content. I also love Spotify Wrapped at the end of each year where you can see your favourite music and artists, which you can share to Instagram etc; it’s become a bit of an annual event for Spotify users!
1Rebel – This gym’s social media copy is pretty cool, and its branding is super consistent, following through all the way into the clubs and workouts.
Not On The High Street – Not On The High Street is my go-to place for buying gifts, and has been for many years. Everything the business does is truly aligned with its brand identity. Its strap line is ‘home of the thoughtful gift’ – and ‘thoughtful’ is the underlying messaging in all of the brand activity. From the way it supports and promotes the creative businesses that use the platform, and the communication with its audience through various means, the tone from Not On The High Street is always thoughtful and conscientious.
Most recently, the company’s email marketing gave the recipient the option to opt out of Father’s Day emails if the day is a difficult one. I don’t think many brands would even consider this aspect, but as someone who has lost their father, I was extremely touched by it and just makes me love them more!
Gymshark – Gymshark has managed to successfully build a thriving community around its products, creating video workout content, putting on events and making its team really accessible to the audience. The brand is prompt and engaging when reacting and responding to audience engagement online, too.
Gymshark’s audience has an incredibly strong and loyal connection to the brand and effectively do a lot of marketing for them as brand advocates. This in turn sells products, because it’s no secret how important good old-fashioned word-of-mouth is to a brand.
The brand has shown others how to effectively use influencer marketing, while also harnessing the power of employer branding by treating its staff incredibly well.
One thing that really stuck out for me is that a common theme in our favourite stand-out brands is that we love them for showcasing their human element or meeting the needs of our feelings.
They are human, they make mistakes – it’s raw and it’s real. You don’t need to put on a mask of professionalism now to be taken seriously as a brand or business. Start at the beginning, define (or redefine) your business with brand values, vision and outline your identity – and stick to it.
Then let your audience see this wherever they go, responding to engagement where possible. Create an audience that feel valued and turn each fan into a loyal brand advocate.
Go forth and be bold with your brand. If you want to discover more about how to harness the power of a great brand and channel this into marketing activities, get in contact with a member of our friendly team. You can email us directly, using the details on our meet the team page or by getting in touch here.