Part 8 of Build an Awesome Brand Month. See all other articles here: Build an Awesome Brand
Ordinary: Claim your brand is “better” or “the best.” Claim you do what everyone else does…and more! Talk about your people and your service. Add lots of superlatives and hyperbole.
Unfortunately, that’s common branding strategy. Even more unfortunately, it makes for a bland brand. So what makes a brand awesome? Do you need to be like Google and do something ginormous like catalog the entire internet and make it accessible to everyone? Or maybe you need to be innovative like Apple, making technology cool and simple. What about like Starbucks, who changed the way an entire country drinks coffee? Nope, thank goodness it’s much easier than that to build an awesome local brand.
The path to branding awesomeness is 1) a promise 2) a personality and 3) unwavering focus on that promise.
Let’s look at a practical example. Two years ago I did this video about brand superiority, featuring my hometown’s most popular brand: George’s Restaurant. It’s an excellent example of branding awesomeness.
(Email subscribers and feed readers: click here if you do not see the video)
The Brand’s Promise
As you can see, George’s owner Sammy Citrano did not turn the restaurant industry upside down with some innovative way to serve food. He serves cold beer and chicken-fried steak. But Citrano did make a promise, come to George’s and you’ll have a “big ol’ time.” But look a little closer, what Citrano really promises is a cold, frosty glass of beer. That’s right, George’s Restaurant built an awesome local brand on cold beer. But he didn’t just promise “the coldest beer in town,” he added personality to the brand.
Add a Brand Personality
You can drink beer from a bottle, a can, a mug, a glass. But at George’s you drink beer from a “big O.” A big O is a specific type of beer glass with a circular, or O, shape (watch the video). It’s not a mug, it’s a glass with personality, so much personality that this glass has a name. Citrano took a glass with personality and turned it into a brand. A cold beer is a cold beer, but a Big O has charisma.
Now comes the hard part: focus. Obviously George’s Restaurant does more than just serve cold beer. They do catering, they are heavy supporters of Baylor University athletics (located about 1/2 mile from campus), they have the best chicken-fried-steak in town, they have a separate event facility. But that’s not the George’s brand, that’s everything else.
The temptation for brand owners is to want to be all things to all people. Doing one thing is boring, so we want to shout: “Look at all the wonderful stuff I can do!” The more things I can do, the more reasons you have to do business with me. But that’s not the way it works. Trying to be too many things is self-defeating because people cannot position you in their mind. What is George’s? It’s the Home of the Big O. But what if Citrano started promoting all that that other stuff too? What would would George’s be? Umm…
So now it’s time to build your awesome brand. What’s your promise? How can you add some personality? Steadfastly focus on those two things.