3 Steps to Building a Brand That Resonates in a Crowded Industry

Here are three key steps to building a brand that stands out.

learn more about Dawn Crew

By Dawn Crew

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The only way to get away from expensive, inefficient, random acts of marketing is to have a well-articulated, truthful brand promise that galvanizes behavior across the company.

Telling the brand story is the baseline requirement. What will set your company apart is showing up every day and delivering on the story's promise. Articulate a compelling vision people believe, and let them see it come to life in your actions.

That was the guiding principle when we recently rebranded at Trulioo, a global identity verification platform where I serve as CMO. The Trulioo rebrand centered on making the "trusted expert" our foundational promise. It helps us operate consistently across the company to promote the power of our brand.

That promise is the blueprint for how we show up for our customers. We want to be helpful and authoritative without being egotistical. We want to bring facts, data and insights that help our customers do their job better.s

But no two companies are alike, so building a brand that resonates is a blend of art, science and self-awareness. There's no manual for it, but there are three important factors to keep in mind:

Related: Telling Your Brand Story Is Crucial. 4 Steps To Ensure That It Resonates

1. Build your brand from the inside out

It's not just the veneer of a business — the colors, fonts and website — that sets a brand apart. It has to be woven into the tapestry of the company, from the people to the product.

Great brands that differentiate themselves in the market are built from the inside out. The people in the company understand, live and promote it every day, not by wearing swag or getting tattoos to show their commitment, but by working with customers in a way that aligns with the brand.

The product and customer experience then must transcend the marketing story and fulfill the brand promise. The Trulioo platform, for instance, is the brand. It's bolstered by services and support that create our trusted expert environment.

Lean on your marketing team to ensure everyone in the company understands the brand and how they can infuse it into their departments.

2. Understand your competitors

From a tactical perspective, when you build a brand in a crowded industry, you have to see where everybody fits in the landscape.

In our identity verification industry, brand messaging tends to focus on product features and technical capabilities. Trulioo became an industry leader by being human-centric, but we also had that same overwhelming focus on features and functions.

In order to stand out in the market, we focused our rebrand around the human dimension of our offerings and their benefits. Let our competition talk about the bits and bytes, features and functions, and dials and knobs. We want to talk about the value we deliver to businesses and the people they serve.

Technology is critical to how we deliver a solution. But customers care about solving their business problems, and they want to work with people and companies they trust to help them accomplish that.

Related: The Importance of Mapping Out Your Competitor Landscape

3. Balance metrics and engagement to meet customer expectations

Brand leaders often omit the simplest thing: You have to really understand your customers and let them guide you.

It starts with a data-oriented assessment of where the market is, but that has to be mapped to the problems customers want you to solve. Metrics are important, but there needs to be a balance between the numbers and engaging with people.

In our market, identity verification is a complex aspect of our customers' businesses, and it's not always their core competency. But it is integral to their success, and they have to get it right for their own brand trust and their customers' safety.

Customers want to understand the benefits of a solution, what it means to them and how it will help their end-user customers. Going beyond the numbers to engage with them as real people searching for answers only enhances your brand.

Yes, you have to measure. But every tactic, while important to consider, isn't a black-or-white decision.

Related: How to Cultivate a Customer-Centric Approach to Brand Building

Relationships are built on consistency between words and actions. A company's relationship with its customers is no different. Building a brand can't be forced. It takes time. The opportunity is there, though, for marketers to engage with people and to get to know them without pressure.

Standing out in a crowded market is really about doing the right things for the customer and knowing everything else will follow from there. When you infuse your brand promise into every bit of your operation, it comes to life and sets itself apart naturally.

Dawn Crew

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CMO of Trulioo

Dawn Crew has more than 25 years of experience defining and leading global marketing strategies for technology companies in the identity verification, authentication and human resources industries.

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