Oct 22, 2015

Start A Fire

It’s hard to ignore an energized brand.

You may have never used Uber’s services, but I’m sure you’ve heard of the company. The Uber brand is everywhere. The company is transforming the taxi industry, which has been nothing short of polarizing.

Cab companies have been protesting in the streets, but commuters are flocking to the service. Uber has lit a fire and everyone can see it.

Energy is one of the most important differentiators for a brand. If you want your brand to stand out, start stoking the fire.

Brand Energy Drives Differentiation

Companies that start a fire radiate energy and excitement. And these are the companies that are becoming the most successful brands in the world.

On the other hand, brands that lack energy are not faring well.

According to the Brand Asset Valuator (BAV), brand equity has been falling sharply over the past decade. BAV measures over 40,000 brands from more than forty countries, and its measures of trustworthiness, esteem, perceived quality, and awareness are all in decline.

  • Trustworthiness declined nearly 50%
  • Esteem declined 12%
  • Perceived Quality declined 24%
  • Awareness declined 24%

These numbers indicate how hard it is for companies to stand out in our media saturated and overcrowded marketplace. There’s so much going on that customers can’t keep up and they are simply tuning out.

A brand on fire bucks these trends. BAV is redefining “differentiation” to “energized differentiation.” New features and capabilities are not enough to engage customers. It’s the energy behind the brand that amplifies the things they do uniquely.

Ignite Your Brand’s Fire

Every company has a spark. The fire is there, but it just might not be visible.

You can start a fire in your company in three core areas:

  • Culture: An engaged team with a higher purpose is exciting. Their passion and energy is infectious. You can feel the heat of the brand, because the people are so dynamic.
  • Innovation: Customers love to see “what’s next.” It’s exciting to see an industry evolve, and it’s exciting to work with a leader that is changing things for the better. Uber is on fire because it’s clearly transforming an industry for the betterment of its customers.
  • Community: Doing good matters. You can ignite your brand by supporting or sponsoring the right cause. A well aligned sponsorship demonstrates your brand’s purpose, and it gives a cause for your employees and customers to rally around.

Culture, innovation, and community are all sources of energy, and they all come from your people. Energy isn’t manufactured in a marketing campaign. It’s harnessed and amplified from the work you do — either internally or externally.

Start with the areas your company already demonstrates energy and stoke it into a fire. Give it the resources, attention, and purpose to turn a hot coal into a wildfire.

Your Brand Needs Energy

In an overcrowded market you’ve got to do more than deliver a good product at a fair price. You’ve got to inspire customers by starting a fire.

Failing to start a fire can be detrimental for your business. David Aaker, author of Brand Relevance, argues, “When a brand lacks energy and visibility, it can move into the ‘graveyard,’ … Being a graveyard brand is a substantial handicap because it is hard to generate interest in a brand when the audience assumes that they are already familiar with it.”

Energy is internal. It’s the fire that burns within your company to serve, innovate, and do something remarkable. Harness that energy.

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