How to create cut-through in increasingly crowded markets

Natasha Lytton
May 2, 2018 · 5 min read

I’m a consumer. You’re a consumer. Like it or not, we all are. We spend our days blasted by marketing messages and inundated with information; bashed around the head with products and services vying for our attention, which should all be the results of a company’s brand building strategy.

And while the channel may differ and the message may vary, ultimately the end goal of a brand building strategy is same: to drive purchase. But what propels consumers to actually take action and how can we create products that stand out in increasingly crowded markets?

I believe the most powerful brands are those built on a strong foundation and driven by a believable, and most importantly, authentic mission. One of the things I always try to instil in the start-ups and businesses I work with is that just because you have a product, does not mean you have a brand; and it doesn’t mean you have a brand building strategy.

If you were to see Coca-Cola and a Pepsi next to one another and take them purely on face value as brands, rather than taste profile, which would you choose?

I’m not a statistician and I have zero data to back this up but I imagine the overwhelming majority would go for the Coca-Cola. Why is that?

Coca-Cola has ingrained itself in our psyches as the brand that creates and stands for happiness.

And it’s worked! When I think of Coca-Cola, I think of Christmas. I think of positivity. I think of uplifting jingles and that’s because Coca-Cola has always created their brand building strategy and hinged their marketing activity around the emotional feeling of drinking or sharing a Coca-Cola. And what happens when we think about Pepsi? I personally think flashy celebrity and footballers. I think Michael Jackson’s hair on fire. I think inauthentic social impact (I mean, millions of us lashed out over that last car-crash of an ad campaign).

Why am I saying this? Because I believe the most powerful brands are the ones who manage to create a powerful, emotional connection with their audience through a strong brand building strategy.

But how can you do this yourselves?

1. Ask the right questions

2. Think about how to position yourself in the market

3. Create a personality you can live and breathe across all marketing activity

Love it or Hate it; either way, you’re going to feel some strong emotion towards it and that’s exactly what they want.

4. Balance emotional and rational drivers across the stories you tell & campaigns you create

5. Build diverse teams

6. More than just a segment

7. Better content and storytelling will drive better performance

Natasha Lytton

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I do branding & marketing for startups. Creative campaigns, content & comms I like. Brands with purpose & strong culture I strive to create.