If You Don’t Know Your Differentiation, Then You’re Already DEAD!

The question is not IF you are different, but HOW you are different. No matter how small or large your company is, if you can’t answer this integral question about your brand, you are missing the holy grail of marketing knowledge.

DIF‧FER‧ENT (adj.)
1. Not alike in character or quality.
2. Not identical; separate or distinct.
3. Not ordinary; unusual.

We live in a society where many people are so busy trying to emulate whats trendy that they forget about promoting what makes them unique. This is also true for construction companies. While performing a research project on over 500 construction brands, we were very surprised to find how little competing companies do to find innovative ways to showcase their differentiation and stand out from the pack. We saw the same website template being used over and over and OVER again. They flashed by us like the endless white stripes on a highway.

This kind of cookie-cutter branding might have cut it back in the days of the Yellow Pages, when things were nicely categorized and alphabetically arranged for your convenience, but that day is gone forever. Today, standing out is a REQUIREMENT to success – construction companies that used to name themselves AAA, because they would be at the top of the list, are now lost in a huge field of AAA companies. If a company does not take action to differentiate their brand, then they will most certainly fall through the cracks unnoticed.

At The Brand Constructors, one of our primary focuses is to help construction company brands discover their true brand identity. One thing that we have found consistently and without exception in our discovery process, is that every construction company we have worked with has a unique differentiation that we have been able to showcase and use as a catalyst for their success.

The truth is that no two construction companies are alike, period. Why? Because a brand is not just a logo and a website. Are these items your most important tools in terms of brand image? Absolutely! However, the development of these elements should come only after a discovery process to define your differentiation. With that vital foundation, the visual representation of your brand can be designed and strategically employed to reflect your “true” brand.

A true brand is made up of a variety of elements: A clearly defined vision that reveals who your company and where it is going; a value statement, which sets the tone and personality that provides the basis of how your company markets itself; and the right people to serve as your brand ambassadors and the voice of the company. A brand is the overall “experience” culminated from all of these elements – it’s the feeling that a customer gets when he/she walks onto your job site, into your office or accesses your website. Your brand is what your customer tells his neighbor and what she tells her board when they are looking at a million dollar project.

Vision, Value, People, Experience – these are the unique elements that make up the overall differentiation of your brand. Just as no two individuals are the same, neither are two construction companies, even if they are selling the same product or service. Some construction company owners have business developers and marketers that work to recognize their company differentiation and find ways to market it, while others need assistance in discovering and utilizing those defining key points. Either way, for a construction company to survive in today’s highly competitive market, they must first understand their own unique differences and how to use those to their advantage.

STAND OUT – Do something no one else is doing. When everyone else is thinking square signs, you should be thinking round.

GET INVOLVED – Take part in a local initiative. Get out of the office. Taking an active role in your business community is the best free advertising you’ll ever get.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE – Don’t take jobs just for the money; do what you are excited about, and your brand will outshine the others because it is genuine.

“Be different so that people can see you clearly amongst the crowds.” — Mehmet Murat ildan

Written by Kat Casebolt, The Brand Constructors Office Mom & Manager.