When we meet with organizations looking to start a relationship with a new marketing agency, many of the conversations start with them saying, “We realize we aren’t doing a good job at marketing” or “We feel we could be doing marketing better.” When we ask them to describe what they have been doing, their marketing efforts typically fall into one of two categories.

Category One: Strategy Based On Cost

In this approach, a marketing communications strategy is based on trying to execute it as cheaply as possible, often resulting in the very opposite of what the organization is hoping to achieve. Every communication from your brand is an opportunity for your target to evaluate your organization and determine if it is a good fit for their needs. Offer up something that is less than desirable or feels cheap, and they will think your product or service offers the same experience—not the impression most organizations are hoping to achieve with their marketing efforts.

Now don’t get me wrong. We all need to be conscientious about our marketing budgets. Just keep in mind that what is communicated by your brand needs to be 100 percent in line with the quality and standards of the products or services you offer.

Category Two: Competitive Duplication

Because many brands don’t fully understand what separates them from their competition, they end up simply duplicating what others do. How do you expect to stand out if you look like everyone else?

Think of a basket of green apples. Just by looking at the basket, all the apples look the same. My expectation, then, is that they will all taste the same, so it doesn’t matter which one I choose. Well, this is what happens when your marketing strategy and communication are the same as your competitors’.

Now, in that same example, let’s place one red apple in the basket. Which one am I likely to be immediately drawn to? It’s the same with marketing and advertising. Your brand should have a clear point of difference from the competition, and your marketing should look different than what your competitors are doing. Many times, the simplest message is the most effective.

Every touchpoint is an opportunity to tell your story about what makes your brand different and relevant to your audience. When this is done effectively, your target will want to know more. And when they want to know more, your opportunities for increasing sales will grow exponentially.

It isn’t easy, but we know how to help clients identify their difference and develop and execute marketing strategies from there. Since 2009 we have helped establish and grow some of the most well-recognized local, regional, and national brands. Our methodology has been used across categories as diverse as traffic control, construction, healthcare, microbiology, and finance.

Changing brand perceptions and value propositions take time and hard work. But in the long run, it is worth it so your brand is no longer ignored.