Your Business is Unique, So Why's Your Brand Generic?!
Most businesses, including brand messaging companies themselves, have a hard time not sounding generic. They ask themselves all the right questions, or so it seems:
“What’s the benefit I’m offering my clients?”
“What’s the pain point my prospects are dealing with?”
“What makes me better than the competition?”
These seem like great questions on the surface, but are they?
They do not inspire any kind of unique messaging that actually hits at the core of your brand without sounding cliche or exactly like everyone else that sells what you do.
Try answering these questions. You’ll come up with the same language as the competition!
Originality has become an elusive unicorn these days. It’s not hard to recognize what a unique message sounds like when you hear it, but creating it for yourself is no easy feat. Even I’ve struggled with verbalizing my unique value:
“I help people make more money and work less”
“My target is overworked, underpaid & overwhelmed”
“I go above and beyond for my clients”
“I’m smarter than the rest, and I’ve been doing this longer”
Or the worst: “I’m better because I really care”
I’m guilty of saying all of these too.
Because they are some of the core problems and solutions that my services (and apparently many service providers in general) are ultimately helping to solve. So we all sound like each other, and it all falls on deaf ears.
Well, I know why that is and what to do about it.
How to avoid the generic brand trap.
Pointing out the cause of generic brand messaging
I was recently chatting with a colleague of mine who, for all intents and purposes, has been uber successful. He’s built and sold a million-dollar-plus company. He’s created a coaching program that has had over 100 people go through it successfully in the past few years. He gets paid to speak. He’s working on his second book deal. He’s got numerous accolades most entrepreneurs drool over.
And he called me because his messaging is still generic and he doesn’t know what to do! He’s struggling to figure out how to stand out and be different, which he’s going to need to figure out if he wants to take his business to the next level.
After questioning him a bit, I figured out what it was: he wasn’t willing to narrow his focus.
He can help all kinds of entrepreneurs in all kinds of situations. He wants to scale up his business and reach more entrepreneurs, so the idea of narrowing his focus sounds like the opposite strategy from what he wants. But it’s not! Think about it: The definition of generic is: GENERIC: “Characteristic of or relating to a class or group of things; not specific.”
(Well, that says it all right there, doesn’t it?)
Not being specific, is by definition generic!
That’s why I rail against branding advice and agencies that are happy to take a business’ answers as given and try to write snappy copy for it. It’s also why our process with clients & in my programs where I teach people how to brand their businesses starts with an eye-opening set of questions to figure out your opportunities to focus.
Without making some bold decisions about where you are going to draw a line in the sand and what you want to build a solid reputation on, writing copy or coming up with your brand message is going to be a lot of fluff.
And fluffy, filler messaging is all too prevalent. It does your business a disservice & no one wants it.
How to Narrow & Focus Your Message
If you’re wondering why you’re having a hard time coming up with that show-stopping brand message (you know, the one that perks up people’s ears and makes them beg to hear more), then you should probably go back a step & consider where your business’s best opportunities are and if you are willing to narrow to grow and expand. Stop trying to be everything to everyone.
It seems counterproductive to not accept every opportunity, but you can be more profitable and successful if you serve only the right customers; not every customer.