Better than the Ex

I was doing my usual skim of my Facebook feed when i caught a glimpse of a photo of a girl I used to go out with. Fate would eventually lead us down separate ways, but of course, the split didn't sit well with me. Even at my age now, I have to admit there are still some unanswered questions. So I did what any right-minded person would do — I indulged myself to a little stalking (don’t give me that look, I know you've done the same once or twice).

There were a handful of nice big-smiley photos of her and her sister, and some photos of trips she’s taken over the years. But most of her posts were really about the projects she’s worked on (she’s a marketer). There were event invites, screenshots and shares of social media posts, live on-site event photos — the works. Her life seemed to be the perfect blend of sugar, spice and everything nice. It’s so good it’s sickening.

Bitter much?

In the same way a bitter lover looks at how his/her ex is doing after the breakup, most of us marketers are caught in the trap of comparison. We always have to be better than the competition. Whether it’s a discount scheme, a promotional event, a new endorser or a CSR initiative, we make sure that our brands have an equivalent response.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to check on the competition. However, we also need to shine the spotlight on what makes our brands unique — that key insight that keeps our brand in the hearts and mind of our consumers.

If your key advantage is a secret recipe, then that must be at the forefront of your strategy — not the free soda refill that you've ripped off other food chains. If your key advantage is a unique or seamless user experience, don’t sell it short buy offering price cuts. KFC and Apple knew this, and this is why they’re still on top.

Going back to the relationship analogy, rather than being the rebound brand who was better than the ex, be the brand who stood out because you were yourself. Build on your brand. You’d be surprised how loyal your consumers can get.

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