Hey shorty, aren’t you supposed to be tall?
Let me tell you a story.
Saul was a tall guy, he’d been tall all his life. At school he was the tallest in his year, and as a young adult he was always considered tall. Being tall became his thing, what he was known for. It was how people identified him, even becoming known as ‘Tall Saul’.
Now in the company Saul was used to he very was tall, he was 6 foot 4 inches. He towered over most people, and most people had to look up to him. Being much taller than everyone else had shaped his identity.
Saul was also pretty good at basketball, he played for school and local area, and was making his way in the sport. So much so that he was scouted to try out for a pro basketball team. On arriving to the trial Saul was in for a wake up call. ‘Tall Saul’, the identity that had been formed by everyone around him being smaller, had just come crashing to the ground. All of the other guys who were there for the trial were pushing 7 feet tall.
Without his own height changing at all, Saul’s tall identity was no longer accurate as those around him had changed. His defining feature, his height, had been relative to his environment. Although he was still 6 foot 4 inches, ‘Tall Saul’ had become ‘Small Saul’.
Now this is a very simplistic story, but the metaphor should hopefully be clear. When shaping a brand it is important to know what its defining features or values are. These might be values that the business wants its brand to be known for and identified by. However, it is also essential to be aware of the competition around you. Communicating key values of your brand, such as being ethical or friendly, is very important but you must remain aware of what your key competition is also communicating about themselves. This isn’t to say that you should let your competitors define your brand, but you do need to bear them in mind if you want to communicate reasons why people should form a relationship with your brand.