How to Make Your Brand Stand Out in a Saturated Market
It can be disheartening when you’ve put your heart and soul into a business, only to find that the market is saturated with business models that look just like yours.
But it’s no reason to crawl back under the covers or close up shop.
Your business can still thrive in a saturated market. (Even if your product or service is similar to others out there.)
The reason? Because your business has 2 things that are unique from every other business: your brand and your reputation.
While your brand and your reputation might overlap, for the sake of addressing the problem of how to thrive in a saturated market, we’re going to break them down separately.
Stand Out Through Your Branding—Finding Your Unique Value Proposition
Contrary to popular belief, your brand isn’t just your logo, color scheme, and font suite. Those are tools that help tell a story about your business. That story is your brand.
Another name for your story is your unique value proposition.
What does your story (or UVP) consist of? Just 3 things—it’s not a complicated story. 😉
(1) WHOM you serve.
(2) Your big WHY (i.e., the problem you solve).
(3) HOW you do it differently than anyone else.
Let’s answer each of these questions for your business.
WHOM Do You Serve?
Your first differentiator is the person for whom your product or service is intended.
CAREFUL. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to make an ah-MAZING product that WoRkS fOr EvErYoNe!
But not only is that a pipe dream (you can never please everyone), it’s also not helping you stand out.
Be different by choosing a specific type of person as your ideal customer.
- How old are they?
- What’s their job?
- What are their fears?
- What problems do they deal with?
- What do they want most?
- What would help them feel safe?
Answer as many questions about your ideal customer as you can. Then let their needs inform your offering.
What’s Your Big WHY?
The problem you solve should be decided by the people you serve.
It should be a problem they actually have—not one you speculate that they have.
#customerresearch #realinterviews #realfeedback
Once you know that the problem you solve is a real problem, then your stories, experience, and personal convictions can help to flesh out your “why” and create a compelling brand message.
But don’t do it backward! Don’t start with your deepest convictions and then look for a matching problem to solve. You might land on trying to fix an imaginary problem, which no amount of branding can overcome.
Let your “why” reflect a true need for which you have supported evidence.
HOW Do You Do It Differently?
This one might feel overwhelming. Because it sounds like the problem you’re trying to solve, right? How is my product different?
But you do not—I repeat, DO NOT—have to reinvent the wheel.
Your differentiator can be something simple, like
- We use a different process when making our product.
- Our customer service is special because…
- Our packaging is dual purpose/you can recycle it in a fun way.
- We offer custom packages.
- You can customize your _____ with your name or a special symbol.
- We deliver faster or for free.
Get the idea? You just need one, maybe two, aspects of your product or operation that make it stand out from similar products.
Oh, and the better you understand your audience’s needs, the easier it will be to decide what makes your offering unique.
In summation, your product doesn’t have to be 100% unique. But it can be unique ENOUGH for your ideal customer to choose you over another similar brand.
The second tool to make your brand stand out in a saturated market is your reputation.
Stand Out Through Your Reputation—Building and Maintaining a Good Relationship with Your Audience
Your reputation is what people say about your business.
Here’s something to know up front: building a great reputation around your business isn’t a one-and-done project. It means playing the long game.
Here are some ideas for fostering a good reputation around your business:
Double Down on Your Values
One thing I believe in is having company values that you strive to embody in your business. Not only for the moral and ethical benefits (of which there are many), but for the way these values inform your brand and help you create a reputation around your business.
Here are some ideas of company values that you can focus on embodying in your business:
Quality and Excellence: Perform like no one else. Use materials that are stronger or longer-lasting. Provide more value in your offering than your competitors provide in theirs.
Innovation: Don’t settle for the status quo. Be willing to adapt and try new ways of solving the same problem.
Ethical Practices: Make a point of prioritizing fairness, honesty, and transparency in your business.
Institutional Knowledge: Provide helpful content that showcases your expertise and gives value to your audience.
Sustainability: Demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability. Use green practices, reduce the carbon footprint of your industry, or promote eco-friendly products.
Cost-Effective Solutions: Emphasize affordability and value in your offerings.
Choose a couple of these values that you feel like you share with your customers and focus on them developing them in your business.
Double Down on Your Strengths
When building a reputation, you don’t need to go against the grain. You can build a reputation using your talents.
Think about what you (or your team) are already naturally good at and lean into those strengths.
These may overlap with your business values, or they might just be things that you’re good at that your customers value.
For example, you might be especially good at one or more of the following:
- Speed 💨
- Communication 📣
- Organization ☑️
- Creativity 🎨
- Humor 😆
- Words ✏️
- Content creation 🤳
- Community building 💬
Double Down on the Customer Experience
One of the best ways to create a great reputation is to serve your customers.
(Nothing groundbreaking here. 😉)
Here are some strategies you can implement in your business to elevate the experience of doing business with you and make people want to choose you over your competitors.
Ask for feedback often and then act on that feedback.
It’s pretty much guaranteed that if your business lives past a year, it will have to adapt in some way or another. Trends and technologies change. To adapt is to survive.
So stay flexible in your business model and your offerings.
Make friends in your industry!
Whether they do what you do, or their services compliment your own, being a part of a network helps you get your name out there. (Speaking from experience. 🙋♀️)
Look for opportunities to collaborate with others in ways that are mutually beneficial and increase your reach (e.g., create content together, team up on a project, or do a services swap).
Create a system for quality control.
If you’re a writer, hire an editor. If you make a product, do frequent quality checks. No amount of branding, advertising, or marketing strategy can make up for poor quality.
Not to mention—business miracles can come from something as simple as making a killer product that does what it says it does.
By making iteration, collaboration, and quality control the heart of your business, you’ll not only satisfy your customers but also build lasting loyalty.
Collect Feedback to Use as Social Proof
The last step in securing a strong brand reputation is to showcase the good things people are saying about you!
Here are some ways to collect materials for social proof.
- Ask/incentivize customers to leave reviews.
- Collect (with permission) positive exchanges through email, text, or other messages with clients.
- Do some recorded interviews and transcribe positive remarks.
- Ask clients with whom you have good rapport to create a video review of their experience working with you.
Showcase Social Proof
You made it to the end of this post. Nice!
Here’s the final step to building a great reputation: Put all those reviews somewhere people can see them!
Your website, LinkedIn profile, Instagram grid, Instagram stories, reels, Google Business Profile.
Anywhere and everywhere your potential customers might wander looking for info about you—include social proof, so your audience will see that your business is something special.
Because here’s the thing: your business is special. You built it. It wasn’t there, and now it is. (Great job, by the way.)
I hope I helped you pinpoint some ways you can stand out in a saturated market.
Remember, nobody can do what you can. The key to standing out is to make sure everyone knows that.
Key Takeaways 🔑
- Your brand is a whole story, not just a logo. 📖
- Define your unique value proposition (UVP) by
- targeting a specific audience,
- solving their real problems,
- and highlighting what sets you apart. 😎
- Focus on genuine customer needs rather than imaginary problems. 🪄
- Set specific reputation goals. 📈
- Leverage your strengths and talents. 🎨
- Elevate the customer experience through constant iteration and quality control. ⭐
- Collect and showcase positive feedback as social proof. 👍