Businesses today face more competition than ever. Five years ago, the typical business had just 2.6 competitors. Today? That number has almost quadrupled, to 9.7.
AWS, Shopify, and no-code significantly lowered the barrier to entry, which shifted the risk from, “Can I build this?” to “Will anyone care?”
How do you compete?
Brand is the key to unlocking a cult-like following. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re building one:
- Tell a story. Drift’s brand narrative has been passed around every B2B marketing team and helped them nab $114m in funding. Just remember that the main character in the story is your customer, not your product.
- Stand for something. Brand is not throwing a product on pastel backgrounds with sans serif font. You must stand for something meaningful: “Think different” (Apple), “Real beauty” (Dove), “Arm the rebels” (Shopify). These brands have manifestoes that don’t accommodate indifference — you’re either in or out.
- Show how. Finish this sentence: “The best electric car is [blank].” Most of us aren’t thinking Nissan Leaf. Tesla offers a more compelling path to reduce oil dependence. Your dominant selling idea needs to be important, believable, and memorable to your market.
- Pick a fight. Without conflict, there’s no story. Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s contrarian views helped build a $25m Basecamp business. Last year they picked a fight with Apple over fees during the launch of Hey, their new email product. Apple eventually approved the app… but not before the internet heard about Hey.
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