01 Mar How do you distinguish yourself from the competition?
How do you distinguish yourself from the competition?
We all know it. We want a new couch and go to the furniture stores. But what makes you walk in one store but not the other? Companies are always competing with one another and as there’s never just one baker or carpenter in one city, how do make sure you stand out? You do this by distinguishing yourself with not only your product but also your appearance. Why? Because it’s been proven that you are, and become, more successful when you can distinguish yourself from the competition.
As a designer, I tend to look at the image of a company differently than the average person. I notice whether attention has been paid to the corporate identity or whether someone just put something together to save money. It surprises me that there are a lot of people (or companies) who don’t understand why you have or need a corporate identity. To translate this to our everyday life, let me use ourselves and our dress sense to illustrate.
When you visit a client wearing a tracksuit or with unkempt hair, what do you think this says to your client? You can understand your client thinking ‘Right, what am I supposed to do with this person, he doesn’t even take himself seriously so why should I?’ When you comb your hair and wear nice clothes (and no, this doesn’t have to be an expensive suit), you’ll immediately see a shift in your conversation partner. The same works for your company. If you don’t pay attention to the appearance of your company, you can’t expect others to take you seriously.
Fortunately, there are many entrepreneurs who do understand that a good appearance is important, and they turn to a designer for help. And don’t forget that an expensive designer doesn’t mean straight up that you get quality. Therefore, check if their style suits you as a person, and trust your gut feeling when it comes to selecting a designer for your company. You want someone to take your company as seriously as you do.
When you’re in the process of getting a corporate identity designed for your company there are a few things you need to do first. To start with you’ll need a company name and check if this is still available as a URL (for your website). There’s nothing more annoying when you have a name and then find that you can’t have a website with the same name. Another important name check is to see if there isn’t another company within your country with the same name, and no Google is not enough! You need to go to your Chamber of Commerce for this. Once you’ve done all the checks, register your company with the Chamber of Commerce. This way you don’t risk someone else registering your name and forcing you to change it (again). The reason I say this. I’ve asked several companies over the years to change their name as I was here first. Sorry! Not sorry. They took the risk thinking I wouldn’t find out, but I am on it big time!
Once this is all done, we start designing the logo. Once we have the logo, we start working on the other resources you need which can be different for each company. Where one company benefits from a website with an entire shop and order function, a flyer and business card will suffice for another. Where one will wrap his car, the other opts for a logo on the office building.
But how do you distinguish yourself from your competition?
Well, that’s what I’m for. I help you discover this by asking four questions.
1. What makes you different from your neighbour (i.e., the competitor)
What do you do differently? Are you focused on sustainability or the service you offer? Look at what other providers offer to see where you differ. Is there something that you do or don’t offer that makes you stand out? Do you sell handmade soap without plastic packaging, for example?
2. How do others see your brand
One way of finding out why your customers come to you is by asking them. They are your biggest advocate so use their views and feedback to see where you can change and grow. If you’re not sure what your added value (USP) is, then it’s important to find out. Ask your friends, family, business partners and loyal customers why they chose you. You’ll be surprised by the type of answers you get. In my case, I was told ‘Everything you do is just spot on!’. A wonderful compliment.
3. What ‘problem’ can you solve for your customer?
It can be challenging to find out what pain points your customers experience that you can solve for them. When I’ve been asked where I can help my clients, I also get stuck trying to figure out what their pain points are. For me it’s quite obvious to this or that when it comes to branding and marketing. The easiest way to find out is to write down all the questions you receive from customers. What do they encounter, what do they need, and how can you facilitate that for them?
4. What are you known for
Every entrepreneur has a USP for which they are known, one that makes them stand out. For me, it’s the fact that I take on a project and arrange everything from A to Z. I do it all and take it out of your hands so you can focus on what you’re good at.
When it comes to design, I’ve come to recognise a style in my work, and I know others have noticed it too. But if I had to describe to you what it is, I can’t. You just know it’s mine. My father used to say that when he saw a design somewhere he knew it was mine. The same goes for a photographer who’s great at product shots but don’t ask him to take your portrait. It’s a different technique and way of working that doesn’t suit every photographer. A wedding photographer is very different to a family portrait photographer who takes photos in a studio. And that’s precisely the USP someone looks for when searching for an expert.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll get a good picture of what makes you different from your competitor and your designer can start working on your corporate identity.
And how is a corporate identity created?
Well, check out the blog I wrote about ‘How to Kick Start the identity of your company’ where I explain the process of creating a corporate identity and all the things you need to think about.
I still need help!
Right, so you’ve read the above and still aren’t sure of what separates you from the competition. Book the Style Scan and we’ll go through the process together.Book the Style Scan