Crowded Marketplace? Here’s How Your Brand Can Stand Out


Share on LinkedIn

Starting your own business is not for the fainthearted. With hundreds of thousands of new businesses starting up every year, it’s each one to their own out there. Unless you have a breakthrough new product or a huge budget to bankroll flashy marketing campaigns, just getting noticed by the consumer can be an uphill battle.

So which one describes your business? Trailblazing innovator or deep-pocketed marketing machine? If you’re not either, then this piece is for your eyes only. Read on to know the subtle ways the brand next door can become the brand of choice for millions.

Have We Met?

Few businesses can thrive without the customer even knowing about them. If I don’t know that you sell pizza, how do I get to your store when I’m hungry?

Brand awareness, therefore is the fundamental requirement for success for any business. A variety of things go into making a brand including, but not limited to

  • A unique and memorable brand name
  • An easily identifiable logo
  • Consistent brand colors
  • Clear brand positioning
  • A tagline

Invest time and effort in coming up with a brand that not only resonates with your target audience, but also memorable enough to trigger a purchase. Your brand name doesn’t always have to mean something. It could be a family name like Ford, or a descriptive name related to your product like Energizer, or even a completely made up name like Haagen-Dazs. What does have to be unique though is your brand identity.

Take a look at the images below:

similar logos

Can you tell which one is which? For those who’re still guessing, the icon on the left that looks like Facebook Messenger in red belongs to outdoor brand Marmot, while the outlandish arches on the right belong to mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility. It helps that these two near-identical looking logos don’t belong in the same industry. But you can imagine the unnecessary confusion and frustration for customers if they were.

Avoid getting into a bind like that with a unique logo that represents the essence of your brand. Now, there’s no “right” way to go about designing a logo, but if you’re a small startup, you can set yourself up with pro-level branding toolkits such as Tailor Brands that let you design a custom logo good enough for launch day and beyond. For example, you have access to graphic toolboxes using which you can modify your brand theme and logo according to seasons or holidays, with just the right amount of color or background modifications.

Speaking of which, the colors you use in your logo and layouts do influence your brand identity and personality. Check out this piece on Help Scout on the psychology of color and how colors can help you stand out and sell better.

Show, Don’t Tell

We humans are a very visual species. We absorb and understand visual data much faster and more completely than written text. Scientists from MIT demonstrate this extraordinary capability in this study. Apparently, we take a mere 13 milliseconds to process visual information!

Visual literacy advocate, Dr. Lynell Burmark from Stanford University has this to say:

“Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information (plus or minus two). This is why, by the way, that we have seven-digit phone numbers. Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.”

Tap into this visually driven nature of your target audience with vibrant imagery about your product or business. Nothing exemplifies the power of a strong idea combined with the clout of video than this hilarious video that a Toronto-based menswear store, GotStyle created:

The video went wonderfully viral, with over 7 million views at the time of this writing, prompting the retailer to expand from menswear to womenswear as well. Talk about breaking out of your niche as a scrappy young brand!

Offer Social Proof

As they say, nothing succeeds like success. When people see a restaurant with a long line of customers waiting outside, they automatically assume that the food inside must be great and make a mental note of going to eat there at the next opportunity. On the flipside, a deserted store in a busy mall tells passersby that the merchandise on display is too boring to invite people inside. The result? Nobody goes in.

As a small business in a competitive market, it’s your job to broadcast every win, every victory and every compliment that your business receives to every member of your target audience. When you demonstrate to potential customers how well you treat your existing customers, they have a reason to believe in your brand over the big brand next door.

Morton’s Steakhouse does this regularly in spectacular fashion. When author and entrepreneur Peter Shankman tweeted to Morton’s Steakhouse from Florida airport to deliver a porterhouse steak to him when he lands at Newark; little did he know about the surprise that was in store for him.

At the arrivals gate in Newark, Shankman was welcomed by a tuxedo clad young man carrying a steak dinner for Shankman in his arms! Expectedly, Shankman was delighted and shared his delight with his 165,000 followers on Twitter making the small, unexpected gesture a viral phenomenon.

While this may have been a complimentary meal, the complimentary visibility that Morton’s got with its proactiveness on social media won it thousands of fans for life!

Maintain Top of Mind Recall

At the end of the day, no matter how awesome your business may be or how innovative your customer service; if you don’t stay on top of customers’ minds, you’ll soon go extinct. Capture customer information like email addresses, phone numbers, home address and other such markers to create custom advertising to reach out directly to you target audience on a daily basis.

Whether it’s via email campaigns, or retargeting ads, communicate to your customers on a regular basis to ensure they remember your brand the next time they need to buy something for themselves. Social posts, video content, even PPC ad copy is a good choice to subconsciously imprint your brand in users’ minds.

Even behemoths like Amazon know this rule and make it a point to get inside peoples’ wallets, by staying top of mind via regular triggered email campaigns.

Are You Ready?

As in life, so in business; give your marketing ideas the best shot you can afford. Remember not to go overboard in your enthusiasm, though. You just might scare the customer away instead of converting them for life! What are your ideas for making your brand voice heard above the noise? Care to share any wins or fails in the comments?

Lori Wagoner
Lori Wagoner is a marketing researcher and strategist who works with small businesses and organizations to help them gain online visibility. Feel free to strike up a conversation on Twitter @loridwagoner.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here