^ (campaign for Orrefors by MEIER)
1. Look like your competition.
Nothing could be more natural. Nothing could be more dangerous.
You want to make sure that you’re singing the same song as the guys who are “getting all the business,” right? Nope. We don’t agree. Looking and sounding like the competition hides your clear advantages and leads to more confusion.
Of course, you need to understand the scope of what your industry leaders deliver. But to begin to win accounts, you must address areas where you have advantages. It could be that you’re local. It could be that you’re attending an area of service where they cannot compete. It might even be a difference in attitude or approachability. But you need to find that difference and exploit it to the hilt. Make sure that everything you say and do about those benefits comes across in a clear, strong and distinctive voice. Look better. Fresher. Smarter. Look different than the competition. Give your audience a choice, and make them want to choose you.
2. Assume your issues with service or a brand experience are the same as those of the target audience.
Unless you are the target audience, this is a great big No.
A huge part of our job here at MEIER is finding out not only what the target audience might be looking for, but understanding the things they are concerned about when filling the bill. What are their unspoken issues – because I promise you, they have them. Most of all, do not assume that these folks are just like you. They almost never are. Make sure you do your homework and build your promise (and your positioning) on the truth of what you can deliver to an audience you truly understand.
3. Believe that your competition makes the same things you make.
You need to wrap your mind around the fact that your target audience is not necessarily reaching for things you’d recognize as “competition”.
Sometimes they’ve solved their challenges with a pieced-together solution that’s working ‘well enough’. And sometimes they just want to be “more creative” than the average customer. Their attempt at expressing themselves could be your loss – or, if you can link into that emotion, it could very much be your win.
Orrefors Crystal listed their competition as brands of crystal and glass. But our research clearly showed us that while crystal and glass had their strongest sales in an area called, “Commemorative Gifts” (wedding, anniversary, award), you could also find cashmere blankets, blenders, monogrammed linens and boxes of fresh pears – even living pear trees in this category. We needed to reinforce the idea of Orrefors as a superior choice for a wedding gift; smarter, more powerful – better than anything – be it glass, cashmere, or even delicious. How did we do it? We made Orrefors more creative, without losing any of that polish and status we know are the hallmark of commemorative gifts. They looked like no other crystal or glass company in the world. And we won the ADDY for the top campaign of the year. A v nice bonus.