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How to stand out in a crowded and noisy digital world

Article based on a webinar by Leanne Rhodes (NSBC Creative Director)

Are you finding that your brand is being swallowed up in a digital crowd? Are you struggling to get traction on your social media ads? Are your e-mails ending up in promotional folders? If this sounds familiar to you then sit tight as we explain how you can stand out in a crowded digital world.

Why is it important to stand out?

It is important to be seen and to attract the right audience who would be interested in the product or service you are selling. You also want to stand out for the right reasons. You want to stand out in a positive one.

Let’s look at what the current digital world looks like. It is noisy, cluttered, overwhelming in choice, busy, stressed, individualistic, fear-inducing, fake, and there is a lack of connection. So how do we react to this environment we need to be different but how?

1. Be clear and uncluttered

Your message needs to be clear. Think about your promotional material. Is it chock-a-block full of everything you do or are you extremely clear about your offering and message? Think about a short phrase of 3-5 words that sums up what you have to offer.

2. Simplify

Do you have an extensive range of products or services? Why not focus your marketing on those offerings which resonate with your customer?

Another way is to consider using recommendations. Many websites that sell products have a small bar at the bottom of the product you are looking at that says what other customers were interested in that bought the product you are looking at.

Remember to simplify and focus on a few things which you excel at rather than be a jack of all trades and a master of none. Also, this applies to messaging. Everyone is not a target audience. You need to clearly define who your ideal client is and focus on them.

3. Make your offering time-saving and easy

Is your website easy to navigate and can your customer find and purchase your products easily? When your customer contacts you do you get back to them quickly?

4. Put others first

Are you self-centred or customer-centric? Do you say, “we do this” and “we do that”? Or do you focus on solving your customer’s problems? Do you fulfil your customer’s need or wants? By focusing on the customer, you will benefit because they will like the fact that you focused on them rather than yourself.

5. Offer comfort and safety

Make your customers experience in your digital spaces comfortable and safe. Help to quell their fears of doing transactions online and help them to trust you.

6. Be authentic and have integrity

Are you telling your clients the truth about your product or are you using white lies to secure business? By being authentic and behaving with integrity, you will help to grow your business.

7. Be personal and create an emotional connection

Don’t have a blanket campaign that focuses on everyone but rather becomes personable. Create connections with your customer, so when they require your service, you will be top-of-mind.

With these ideas in mind, let’s look at four questions you can ask when looking at all the digital touchpoints you use:

1. Are you easy to find?
2. Are you easy to identify?
3. Are you easy to trust?
4. Are you easy to connect with?

Now let’s take a deeper dive into how you can stand out.

Who are you as a business?

You need to get to know your business. Here are four questions to consider:

  • What problem do you solve? Think about your products and services and how they may solve problems your customers have.
  • What are your core values? This is important because customers align themselves with brands that share their values.
  • Who are your competitors? Think about your local area and consider who could be your competitor in your field. This will help you to stand out because you will know who you need to stand out from.
  • What makes you different? This is also called your unique selling point (USP). It could be your values or your solution that makes you different from your competitors.

You can also distinguish your brand by what archetype you are. By identifying the archetype for your brand, you will be able to distinguish yourself better in the market. Customers will be able to identify with you and know you are as a brand, and this will lead to trust.

How are you recognised?

There are two elements related to your brand. They are your brand identity and brand image.

Brand Identity

Brand identity is the way you want to be perceived as a brand and this is created using logos, visual styles, language, tone, and the visual elements you use. Brand identity is within your control.

Brand Image

Brand image is how customers actually perceive our brand. This is your customers beliefs, emotions, the impression of the brand, and it is your reputation in the market.

Let’s look at what your brand identity entails:

  • Visual brand assets: Your logo, colours, font, and visuals are what help your customers to recognise your business. You create brand recognition by being consistent in the logo, colours, font, and visuals you use on all the digital platforms where you are present. The visual brand assets are shortcuts to customers recognising you in a field of brands.
  • Brand voice: The voice of your brand is not only in the visuals, but it is also in the copy you write for your website, the text you use on social media, how you speak on the phone and any other way you connect with your customer.

The brand voice is made up of:

  • Persona: Are you playful, inspiring, casual, authoritative, warm, professional? How do you define your persona?
    • Tone: Are authentic, humble, personal, direct, academic, or witty?
    • Language: Is the language you use simple, savvy, jargon-filled, fun, serious or whimsical?
    • Purpose: What are you try to do with the information you are communicating? Do you want to inform, educate, amuse, impress, motivate or entertain?

By defining your brand voice, you can brief an agency or your team, so that you sound the same no matter where people interact with you in the digital world.

  • Know the customer: You need to have a clear idea of who your ideal customer is. You need to understand what they need and what they want. Research what your customer cares about and what they need. Speak to your customers either directly or do online surveys to see how you can best serve them. Make sure your brand is relevant to your potential and current customers.

How do people find you?

Do you know how your customers find you? It’s crucial to understand how your customers are searching for you. Are they using Google? Or is word-of-mouth important?

How are you credible and trustworthy?

You know what you do but how do new customers know they can trust you? This is where appearance is crucial. If you want someone to take you seriously, you need to dress the part. It doesn’t matter if it is face-to-face or digitally, you need to look trustworthy.

You can build your credibility by:

  • Getting an email address with your company name in it. Gmail and Hotmail emails don’t help people to trust you.
  • Reviews are massive in today’s world. Ask your happy customers to leave a review for you on Facebook, Google, and your website. They have a big influence on potential customers who want to buy your product.
  • For e-commerce, make sure you have logos on your site which show that you can be trusted. You should also show your accreditations on your website.
  • Write blog articles for other websites. Let your customers know if you have been published in famous journals or magazines.

Trust is built by looking credible, giving value to your customers and being consistent in wherever your brand is seen.

How do you connect?

Brands can tap into the deep-seated emotions that influence how we as consumers act, react, and ultimately purchase their offering. It’s important to build an emotional connection with your customer so they keep choosing you even if there are other options available. When you go after a sale, remember that you want to make a customer who will return, not a one-time sale. The golden rule to building connection and trust is to do what you do well, and do it consistently over time.

Go out there and stand out.

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