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Great brands differentiate. What are you doing to be different?

If you're trying to find break-through marketing for your brand in the digital and social space you may have to resort to more traditional analogue methods, such as creativity. I realise this will frustrate the bean counters and process people who have been celebrating the measurability of online marketing, but the harsh reality is that replicating what other brands are doing (even if you do it a little bit better) is not a formula for success anymore.
People don't talk about average stuff - and digital viral and social media marketing requires talkability to be a success. That means that your branded Twitter posts have to be fabulous, your brand's Facebook feeds have to be sociable and of course your movies on YouTube has to be brilliantly entertaining or informative. Being ok means you will be ignored.

Agencies who value brands based on the traditional asset evaluator usually evaluate according to 50 attributes that make business and brands valuable and desirable. Interestingly, these are very different to the stuff that drives differentiation and gets talked about online.

The top 8 traditional traits

Here are the top 8 traits that make a brand valuable according to traditional evaluators,
  1. High quality
  2. Trustworthy
  3. Good value
  4. Reliable
  5. Original
  6. Simple
  7. Fun
  8. Leader
These 8 factors are often found on business vision statements, but I'm sure you'll agree that they're not virtues that you would find your target market talking about, tweeting about or posting on their Facebook pages. The truth is that for today's connected and empowered consumers, these are the basic bare essentials that should be expected.

In addition, these 8 brand traits do not differentiate your brand from your competition. Nor will they get your target market to trust you. As a creative professional with over two decade's experience, I have worked on many leading South African brands that have amplified a small performance difference into a massive brand advantage. It was easy to be a success with this kind of strategy 10 years ago, when the customer was less informed and a lot less activist. It's very difficult today.

So what are the traits you should focus on?

The top 8 social space brand traits

To leverage and differentiate your brand in today's attention-starved and word of mouth-driven economy are,
  1. Unique
  2. Dynamic
  3. Different
  4. Engaging
  5. Innovative
  6. Visionary
  7. Daring
  8. Progressive.
These traits, when integrated into your brand's DNA and your 360º communications in a brand-centric™ manner, can break through your target market's filters, and - better yet - get them sharing it. Gone are the days where you could replicate tried and tested ideas, especially given that customer expectations and technology is moving so fast that even when you have something good today, it's old news tomorrow.

The three S rule

When taking our clients brands into the digital social environment we at Gullan&Gullan have the "Three S" rule, namely be
Simple, Smart and Special.

About the author

Desirée Gullan is the Creative Director of Gullan&Gullan Advertising (Pty) Ltd. Gullan&Gullan's propriety brand-centric™ methodology forms the basis of every communication service ensuring that brand equity is enhanced through congruent, consistent expression at every touchpoint from above and below the line, online, and brand experiences.

G&G Digital's press office

G&G Digital We're a brand communications agency with digital in our DNA. We develop digital strategies and design digital products for some of the world's best companies. We also build beautiful user-centred websites, run social media, create digital campaigns, produce loads of great content and make lots of useful and fun games, apps and more. Our team of specialist digital natives make use of the latest and best traditional and web PR, social media and digital tactics to ensure your brand dominates the offline, online and social space.