The promotional products marketplace is congested with an increasingly boisterous crowd, each clamoring to be heard above all others. The messages that are broadcasted are so similar that is near impossible to separate one value proposition from another. Finding a truly unique voice to stand out in a crowded marketplace is the single most critical component to creating a successful and sustainable business in a saturated market.
The brandivate “Finding Your Voice” series has been dedicated to helping industry distributors find their unique voice to stand out from their competition. Previous posts - with key takeaways - in this series covered the following:
Brand Message - Your brand is less about what you think it means and more about what emotional response it elicits from your target audience.
Identifying the Right Target Audience - Placing your focus on a targeted portion of the organizations interested in buying promotional products will allow you to communicate and engage in a manner that speaks to the audience needs.
Be Disruptive - Success isn’t only about having a history of being innovative. It’s about continual reinvention and challenging your own success.
Creating a Client Experience Contract - To enjoy wild success, you have to create much more than a positive customer experience; you have to execute a contract of client-specific expectations on which you continually deliver.
The consistent message throughout the series has been value.
How do you create value (brand message)?
How do you capture value (target audience)?
How do you deliver value (market disruption)?
How do you measure value (client experience)?
To find and develop a unique voice, the single thread that weaves through the tapestry of your organization must be value. To cultivate this, it’s essential to open a candid dialog with key stakeholders in your organization – or, with yourself if you are a one-person enterprise. For the conversation to yield the desired results, everyone involved must leave preconceived notions, the adulations of the past, and ego at the door. The exchange must allow complete honesty without fear of repercussions as nothing will be accomplished if people temper their comments for fear of retribution.
The dialog should begin with the following questions/discussions:
The Brand and the Message
Does it project the image your clients are seeking?
Does it create value that prospects can easily understand?
What emotions does the brand and message evoke – both internally and externally?
Current Clients, Marketplace, Target Audience
Do you have a natural client base that can be leveraged?
According to the client profile, do you understand the needs and values your target audience desires in a partner?
Look at your top clients for the past three years – what has changed in their business, how they go to market, etc. and how have you evolved with them?
Marketplace Disruption – Proactive vs. Reactive
Does your organization allow people to be courageous when sharing ideas?
Do you continually use past successes as the only indicator of future growth?
Do you frequently embrace ideas that make your competitors nervous?
The Client Contract
How do your clients REALLY perceive you?
How can you train your staff to shift their mindset, and empowering them to solve problems for clients before they happen?
Does your organization embrace curiosity as a culture to find new ways to enhance the overall client experience?
Whether you are a company of many or of one, a candid assessment of your voice is necessary to find the uniqueness that is rewarded in the marketplace. Following the crowd is easy, but you your offerings will be commoditized and the only aspect of your brand that has value will be price. If price is your only point of differentiation, you are in a race to the bottom where there are no winners.
Just like individuals, each organization has a unique voice. The simple question is, are you bold enough to honestly share it among your prospects and clients? When you decide that you are, then you will have a voice that will stand out from even the most crowded marketplace.