STAND OUT: The VISION Process
This third part of the VISION Process is all about the Stand Out.
Did you know that the average person scrolls through 96 metres of social media per day?! That’s the height of Big Ben! According to Google in 2020:
- 500 million tweets are posted daily
- More than 350m photos are uploaded each day to Facebook
- Users ‘like’ 4.2 billion posts per day on Instagram
- 5 billion YouTube videos are watched every day
…never mind all the other distractions, tasks and people fighting for your target customers’ attention…
This means your brand has less than six seconds to make a great first impression so if it doesn’t stand out (for the right reasons) you simply won’t be seen…
…and you’re not being seen, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is a lack of visibility will render you as good as invisible, especially if your audience goes for your better-looking competitor.
To build your brand we use our award-winning six-step VISION Process. The first step is Visualise (read about it here), where you start with your big brand aspirations, then the company and customer vision. The second step is what we call the ‘Inner Brand’, i.e. the non-visual, heart and soul of your brand – and how you make that emotional connection.
Now here is my favourite third step of the VISION Process, where we learn to…
Standing Out, getting noticed is vital for success. Grabbing attention and differentiating your company from your competitors is key to developing a recognisable and memorable brand.
Of course, how you look (DoSaySee) and the first impression you make visually will help you grab people’s attention, but how to do that?
My top tip: Don’t just do what your competitors are doing if you want to stand out! That means you deserve better than a generic, ‘me-too’ or derivative brand (yes, I’m talking about the kind you find on Fivegrrrrrrrrr and other cheap logo suppliers).
Loosely speaking, when others zig – you should zag if you’re going to convey your point of difference, and that zag may just be having beautiful design, most SMEs don’t invest in their ‘first impression’ enough, so that will help you stand out immediately!
But along with your company name, your strapline (i.e brand promise) also helps you stand out. And if you go back to the values you defined when working on your Inner Brand, building your brand on solid values, defining your bigger purpose and standing for something other than just making money will also help you stand out.
There’s a LOT you can do around standing out then, and we go into a lot more detail in the book of course, but one question I get asked all the time is “Do I really need a strapline?”
If you want to stand out, then I’d say “Yes”.
What is a strapline?
Your strapline is a powerful marketing and brand positioning tool. It’s a short phrase that is usually paired with your company name to communicate something extra and meaningful about your offering. It may form part of your logo or may be used separately.
In seconds, it gives you:
- Differentiation, helping you stand out from your competitors
- A clear and memorable promise to potential customers
- A hook to help customers feel an affinity with your brand
So no, you don’t really NEED a strapline, but if you can tell people more about your business in a matter of seconds, why wouldn’t you take the opportunity?
Here are my top three tips on creating your strapline:
1. What’s THE TRANSFORMATION?
Whilst you were working on your business name, you’ll probably have generated a lot of words relevant to your business. Don’t waste them! They will also be useful for strapline development, as well as part of your brand voice vocabulary.
Think about things from your customer’s perspective. What do they need to know? This could just be descriptive of what you do (your offering, what you sell – e.g. support services for divorced women, see below), but it is way more exciting if you talk about the transformation you will bring to their lives – i.e. your brand promise.
2. Keep it short
A strapline needs to be memorable. Short and punchy action words have the most power.
Generally, I recommend no more than eight syllables as optimum. Of course, rules are made to be broken – and if it’s strong as a concept, you might get away with a longer one. But as the actress never said to the bishop, the shorter the better.
It can be a descriptive phrase, like Invincible Apparel’s ‘X-shaped Fashion that Fits’
Or three separate positioning words (the power of three!), as with ei8ht Leadership Coaching’s ‘Liberate. Motivate. Elevate.’
The strapline for Shifts to Success is ‘Break out. Make the change. Live your life.’ These words articulate the customer vision, journey and brand promise in just a few words.
3. USE big brandS FOR INSPIRATION
(But obviously, don’t copy them!)
Nike – Just do it. Empowering, positive, gender-neutral, powerful. This is about an attitude rather than a particular sport or product, which allows for any amount of future diversification.
L’Oréal – Because you’re Worth it. Another empowering strapline, delivered by a host of internationally famous, glamorous spokeswomen. L’Oréal may be a mass-market brand, but its positioning is highly aspirational, implying that its products will make you feel a million dollars.
Gillette – The Best a Man can Get. The brand was obviously promising the best shave, but the implication was always that Gillette would also help a man snag a gorgeous girlfriend. In 2019, Gillette started to evolve its brand in the wake of the #metoo movement. They haven’t changed their strapline but created a slogan for a campaign around ‘The best men can be’, showing men calling out sexism and championing equality. This brave move went viral, but divided opinion and alienated some of the brand’s core audience.
De Beers – A Diamond is Forever. A brand promise that speaks not just of everlasting love, but of an heirloom which can be passed on to your children, and their children too. Suddenly spending all those thousands feels like an investment.
Apple – Think Different. Yes, if you’re British, it should be ‘Think differently’ and it was actually an advertising slogan, not a strapline, but this one has endured and became iconic in itself as it is aspirational, visionary, exciting, rebellious, timeless and deeply aligned with Apple’s company and brand strategy.
Oh – and if you’re wondering about the difference between a strapline and a slogan. A strapline should stay as a constant whereas a slogan may change tactically for a campaign. (When you’re brainstorming straplines, save any rejects as potential slogans for campaigns in the future).
If you’re struggling with generating a company name, strapline or just wondering how on earth to stand out, book a free 30-minute Brand Clarity call with me and let’s see what we can do…
My award-winning book ‘Let’s Get Visible!’ goes into more depth on Stand Out as part of the whole VISION Process. It will help you get brand clarity, stand out in your industry and supercharge your business growth. Buy it here.