What Makes Brands Unique? Reflections on Brand Identity

December 12, 2018

Attract Attention

A brand is successful when it is noticed, because what we don’t know, we can’t buy. And we perceive what stands out, what catches the eye. This story deals with what constitutes unique brands, where mistakes are often made and what this means for you and your company.

"Different Is Better Than Better."
- Sally Hogshead

You can attract attention in many ways. You can use a lot of naked skin to draw attention to your products. You can captivate customers attention with provocative statements. You can particularly fiercely attack the competition to look better. Such methods of brute force marketing are not the issue here. Rather, we concentrate on the most elegant art of attracting attention: Doing it by being unique.

"Think different" - Apple's famous slogan already got to the point in 1997.

Uniqueness Through Imitation - a Paradox

“How do I become unique?” – This question underlies much of the literature you find in the popular self-help departments of bookstores, and it is also the question you should ask yourself for your business and your products. Uniqueness means that your product has characteristics that no other product has. This allows customers to distinguish it from the competition, remember it and perhaps even decide to buy it.

As a first step towards answering the question of their own uniqueness, many companies look at the market and compare themselves with the competition. They want to find out how others define and sell their individuality. This quickly leads to a rather uniform mush. Successful concepts are adopted by the masses and the result is that a once unique distinguishing feature of a single brand degenerates into an industry standard that is no longer rewarded by any attention. Starting the search for uniqueness in others is a paradox.

iPhone, is that you? Apple's "Notch" has gone from being a ridiculed feature to a new industry standard.

No Tinkering!

After a detailed market analysis you come to the conclusion that you like the slogan of brand X very much. The logo of brand Y matches it and is super creative. You design your product range like brand Z, because it is the undisputed market leader and has a super customer image. You choose only the best of everything. The result: your brand will be so great and unique that it will effortlessly outshine X, Y and Z. Right?

"Don't Turn Your Brand into Frankenstein's Monster!"

I’m afraid I thought wrong. What comes out of this is a brand that has been robbed of any character. As a customer, I am looking for a brand with a recognition value, an anchor. I want to know what you stand for, what you are, and what I’m getting into with you. That doesn’t work if you communicate a different message to me with every point of contact I have with your brand. In the best case, you look characterless, like a grey suit that anyone can wear, but in which nobody really stands out. In the worst case, you look dishonest. You have no messages for which you stand up. Your appearance is such an obvious accumulation of buzzwords that I suspect you are trying to hide the true you.

Don't be that guy!

Emphasize Your Individual Values

Let’s summarize. Success requires attention. The best way to gain attention is through uniqueness. In order to experience what makes you unique, you have to compare yourself with others. But if you simply imitate others, you become part of the big unified mash. So what should you do?

"Be Yourself; Everyone Else Is Already Taken."

This exhausted and admittedly somewhat cheesy quote is right. When you think about it, you actually have no choice. By definition, every idea that you pick up and adopt somewhere is no longer unique.

You are unique if you simply follow your business without worrying about trends and the competition. What remains is you, your employees, your neighbors, your customers – all the things that really matter in the end.

Of course this does not make you a dazzling bird of paradise who breaks all conventions, but you don’t have to. Your distinguishing feature may be the cross-generational family business or your special commitment to the region. Perhaps it is a passion for traditional production processes or a particularly high level of quality assurance.

The task of a good brand is to highlight these small but fine characteristics and to communicate them in an exciting and emotional way.

"Studio9 Is the Partner for Your Unique Brand."

If you are not sure how such a task should be tackled, then you are certainly not alone. Rather, you have arrived at the marketing section of this article.

As a branding and design agency, we at Studio9 see it as our task to offer our customers support in the demanding task of recognizing their own uniqueness, refining it and translating it into an appealing packaging and communication solution.

You can find more information about our offers under Services or if you prefer to contact us directly to clarify open questions or a possible cooperation, please do not hesitate to call us or send us a short message. We look forward to hearing from you in any case.