Welcome to 2013, a year I believe we in branding and marketing will see an even greater swing toward—and search for—the truth. And I’m talking about brand truth. About understanding your organization’s reason for existence and finding a way to simply communicate that.

It’s not about differentiation, but conviction.

After all, how different are you really from your competitors? And even if you are in some way, how easily can that be copied or duplicated? Only a rare few organizations have such proprietary products or services that they stand alone in the marketplace. The rest of us struggle to distinguish ourselves—unfortunately it often comes down to oh-so-trite concepts like “our people are the best”, or “we care about your success”, and on and on.

Clients care about what you believe about them, not why you are different.

Think about some companies you think are doing it right. What brands come to mind? Apple? Red Bull? Zappos? Coyote? Or maybe a local, family-owned business? It’s what we call the ‘human insight’ that tends to separate these companies from the rest of the pack. The ability of their leadership to understand the world from the perspective of the client/customer. And the ability to create clear and concise and compelling and believable stories to relate to them. That’s the brand truth I see us moving toward. Sure, it will eliminate some of the ‘me too’ companies, and will impact the ones that compete just on price—but that may not be a bad thing.

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So what is your organization’s reason for existence? How can you make that core to your marketing and communications messaging? And when was the last time you thought about it?

by Frank Kurland

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