Perception is reality.
We formulate our opinions on everything based on appearances and what information we can quickly grasp at the tips of our fingers. To a human being, perception is our entire reality.
In the world of branding, perception is more than just reality—it is survival.
That’s really what the practice of branding is all about, isn’t it? Making sure that your organization, personal endeavor or etc. is being perceived properly.
If your brand is received correctly and in a compelling manner then you’re going to build trust, credibility and interest all of which in combination will win a following of customers, advocates, and honestly, whoever you may be looking for.
How Does an Organization Compete with High-Power Competitors?
Perception is often where amazing organizations get their asses kicked.
There have been companies and organizations who’ve fundamentally done things better than their competitors in every way—superior products, services and process—but never managed to survive.
So why did they fail?
Their brands didn’t have the muscle to outlast and outshine their high-power competitors, who were keeping a solid grip on the spotlight with the luxuries of big budgets and large teams working around the clock to drown all others out.
Unfortunately, it sometimes doesn’t matter how much better your product or service is. If you’re going up against a competitor with years of business dealings, large spending capabilities and big teams, it can be hard to win new business.
Blowfish Branding: Defined
Blowfish branding is the intentional practice of strategically building an image that has the credibility of a successful, well-established company who knows what they’re doing. This in and of itself can make you seem bigger than you really are, thus the term “blowfish.” When done properly, that brand is enough to stand toe-to-toe with Goliath-sized competitors with seemingly infinite resources.
For some young companies, earning legitimacy through operations is vital, but for young companies the hurdle is convincing someone to even give you the chance. What the blowfish effect does is through the power of branding, gives you a fighting chance to win business and prove the quality of what you have to offer.
Warning: Make Sure Your Product/Service is Indeed High Quality!
Blowfish branding should only be used if your organization has refined its product and service to a high quality level.
The blowfish effect can blow up in your face—and ruin your reputation as a business—if you are putting on the false pretense that you’re offering a high-quality service that beats out the competition, when in fact you’re not. This is the tough truth of all marketing communications.
Before you build a powerhouse brand, make sure you have powerhouse services to offer.
Promise? OK—cool, now let’s dive into four blowfish branding techniques that will crush your competition and start winning you battles:
1.) Invest in Developing a World-Class Brand
Thinking of Building a Brand? Here’s What You’ll Need
This is the ultimate starting point and is non-negotiable if you want to start winning. Invest in the best talent to bring to life a world-class brand that can easily stand side-by-side with your competition.
Your brand needs to clearly communicate who you are, what you do and the fact that you know what you’re doing in a matter of moments. This places pressure on your company name, visual identity (logo, colors, font selections) and the story you tell across all platforms.
Your brand should differentiate you from your competition. The more compelling you make your brand, the better you’re going to do.
Don’t Skimp on Brand Assets!
Name, visual identity and story are all great, but you need to carry on the momentum into your brand assets.
I’m talking about website, business cards, marketing materials and more.
A website nowadays is the first place someone is going to explore. If you want to roll with the big dogs, you need to have a website either of equal par or greater par than your competitors (which in some cases might not be too hard).
Beat the Competition’s Website (if possible)
There’s also a great opportunity here to outplay your competitors when it comes to a website.
Some of the biggest, baddest, most established brands have the worst, most outdated websites in all the land. People looking for new business partners and products are hitting websites first and foremost in their digital quest for solutions. If you can outplay your competitors and build a digital destination that impresses visitors then you’re one step closer to winning a new customer from your competitors.
It’s honestly amazing the effect an amazing website can have on scoring new business opportunities.
If this is an area where you can win, you have to take it. Analyze your competition’s websites and see how you can do it better.
I point to this example a lot, and it’s especially relevant in this case. Pittsburgh is filled with craft breweries, but before I’d ever stepped foot in the Brew Gentlemen’s establishment, I was charmed by a cool feature on their website that no other Pittsburgh brewery has—a live tap list:
Materials Are Your Ambassadors—Make Sure They Impress
If you want to seem credible and trustworthy of a magnitude to match your competitors, you have to also invest in the actual materials being used to create your assets.
When it comes to business cards, letterhead, packaging, shipping and more, the actual material put into the creation of these is the difference between a good impression and an average impression.
Again, some of the biggest companies in the world slack in this area. They equip their employees with regular stock business cards—flimsy and trashcan worthy. Invest in high-quality stock and graphic design that turns a business card into a conversation piece.
2.) Get Serious About Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When people have a problem, they turn to search engines to find the solution.
Sometimes they’re not sure what the solution is to their problem and other times they know exactly what kind of solution provider to look up.
Ask yourself one question—are you at the top of their list when they Google something? If you’re a craft beer bar in Downtown Philly for example, do you pop up on the first page of Google when someone searches for “Craft beer bars in downtown Philadelphia?”
Put time into investigating what you’re ideal customers are searching for, and once you find those keyword phrases, develop a strategy to ranking for them.
Rank = Trust
The power of ranking for keyword phrases in search engines is unbelievable. If you’re on the first page for a variety of phrases people are searching for, you’re going to earn instant credibility and trust.
Much like point one, a lot of large companies haven’t turned around to investing in this method. For your industry and your geographic market, this could very well be the case.
This is another opportunity for you to take high ground and begin winning business opportunities with effort.
3.) Respond Faster Than Anyone Else
Larger more established companies don’t always respond incredibly fast, and thus, this is another opportunity for outshining your competitors.
If someone reaches out to you through your website’s contact page, respond back as fast as humanly possible. This might put a bit of strain on your organization’s internal team at first, but I can guarantee that you’ll make a fantastic impression on prospective customers/clients.
If someone asks you for a proposal for services, have a process in place that allows you to quote work and create proposals in the shortest amount of time possible. Your competition might take weeks, but if you can take a matter of hours, you’ll, again, begin to outshine them.
Again, Quality is Key
Fast turnover is great and all, but if what you’re turning over is shoddy, it will do the opposite.
Make sure everything—from the way you word your emails to the templates you use—oozes professionalism and your brand in a way that will compel people to work with you.
4.) Create a Strong Social Media Presence
I can’t tell you how many wins have come from social media.
As a business, you can’t ignore it any longer—social media is a critical component in the success of your brand.
Build Your Tribe
Develop actionable strategies to build a tribe around you. These are the people that are going to spread the word of your services and products.
Use It or Lose It!
Social media is truly about consistency and staying active. If you’re going to create a social media account, make sure you have a strategy to leverage it to its fullest.
Post content regularly, engage with your audience, answer questions about who you are, engage with people in hashtags and start getting yourself out there.
Take the Spotlight!
Looking for Help?
Let’s build your brand
It’s your time to take the spotlight and showcase your products and services side-by-side with your competition. Take advantage of these blowfish branding techniques and propel yourself forward.