Mobility and communication have increased substantially since the dawn of inexpensive air travel and the Internet. Historically, competition was mostly local or regional, but with every breakthrough in transportation and communication technology, every business is increasingly competing with every other similar business across the globe.
Companies that used to pay hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for a well thought through brand identity system, are now seeking out smaller agencies from smaller local markets that can do the same work for a fraction of the cost. And if a logo is all that one wants for one's business, many price-sensitive organizations are turning to graphic designers in countries where wages are so low that they can get a new logo for $200 or less.
In the twenty-two years that I have successfully positioned brands for my clients, more and more product and service categories have become mature and overcrowded with too many brands saying (and doing) exactly the same things. Unless an organization pursues leading-edge innovation, disruptive technologies, "category killer" business models or other radical out-of-the-box approaches to competition, even though they may have distinctive brand identities, they have for all intents and purposes, become commodities that are beholden completely to price and convenience for their survival.
This is why carefully crafted - no perfectly crafted - brand messaging is so important. Almost all brands are now competing in a sea of choices that can hardly be differentiated from one another in the minds of potential customers. Your brand needs to stop potential customers in their tracks. The messaging needs to be so "spot on" that it derails their continued product search.
Radical innovation is still a competitive advantage. And there are a myriad of ways to increase convenience (location, 24/7 operations, individual targeting, responsiveness, etc.), however competing on price is a slippery downward slope that ultimately leads to disaster. But if you don't get your messaging right, not much else matters.
Does your messaging...
- Immediately address the potential customer's pain point or need?
- Meet the potential customer where he or she is now?
- Make your brand sound substantially different from every other brand?
- Engage the potential customer emotionally?
- Help the potential customer to feel completely understood?
- Convey a brand personalty that is highly compelling?
- Use just the right amount of words (no more or no less) than the medium requires?