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How to build a “oneliness” brand customers love and can’t live without.

To have real impact and influence in the 21st century marketplace of noise and clutter, you must create “oneliness”– a state of mind where the consumer or customer believes there is NO substitute for what you offer.

This means creating experiences customers love and can’t live without. If you’re stuck on a growth plateau, chances are this isn’t happening and more marketing isn’t going to move you forward.

The marketplace has never been forgiving territory. This is true for all businesses large and small. Many Founders / CEOs of early stage companies, in an effort to please the marketplace lose focus on their oneliness.  To help you build momentum towards creating a one and only brand that leads to the next level of growth, focus on these ideas:

Your reason for being.

Every great brand was built on a purpose, passion or cause that deeply mattered to the Founders far beyond money-making. More importantly, your reason for being must align with what the marketplace rewards. When these dynamics come together and are aligned, you are at the white-hot center of competitive advantage (aka oneliness). You’ve heard it a million times–be clear on your why. It’s the quintessential first piece to the whole oneliness puzzle.

Who does your brand serve?

Building a oneliness brand requires you know everything about your customer and why the unique value your business/brand offers fits into the quality of their life. Your brand must be a reflection of the core values of the customer. Patagonia knows what core values they share with their customers. Founder Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia says, “we follow our beliefs, customers follow us.”

Be insanely relevant to your customer.

21st century strategic positioning is about exclusion rather than inclusion. It’s no longer about mass marketing but micro or niche marketing. Define your niche with relentless focus. Align your niche with your purpose/passion/cause and be relevant to ONLY those people whose values are shared. In a cluttered marketplace, insane relevance is the gateway to your bigger future. This explains the difference between Apple and Dell, BMW and Chevy, Herman Miller and HON.

Forget features. Bring on the feelings.

Oneliness brands are built on emotional connections not product function or features. In our social media transparent world, customers expect things will function as promised. Today everything is good. Good=the same. Without the customer’s deep emotional connection to your brand, you’ll just be one more in the slush pile of good.

Lead a parade.

This is an insight presented by Marty Neumeier in his book ZAG. One and only brands understand the whims of the culture at large that affect the lives of customers. One and only brands are out in front of these cultural trends–in effect leading the parade. Back in the 80’s when Seiko and Casio were punching it out over quartz watch precision, Swatch realized a cultural shift toward self-expression and dominated the cheap watch category for decades. Find your parade and lead it.

Oneliness comes down to one thing.

One and only brands represent a single “idea of value” in the minds of customers that can’t be credibility claimed by alternatives in the category. Brand consultants call this your brand essence. For example, Google= Organize World Information, or Disney=family entertainment. To impact and influence customers, your brand must represent only one thing.

One voice across all media channels.

How you express the visual and verbal presence of your brand at every customer touch point is critical to building a one and only brand. To build deep emotional connections with consumers, customers, employees, strategic partners and stakeholders, brand voice is about being consistent in what you say and how you say it. Like a singing voice, brand voice has a dynamic range that defines its character. It’s imperative for the growth of your brand to manage the unique voice of your brand at every customer interaction.


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