How to Build a Brand That Stands Out From the Competition

With the rise of marketing and advertising, our society has become inundated with products, companies and brands vying for attention.  And with a public that has an increasingly difficult time focusing on one product or image, a brand needs to truly stand out in order to do well.  Amongst all of this competition and considering the above characteristics of our culture, certain brands will, naturally, stand out while others dramatically fall to the wayside.  So, what should a brand do in order to make its way to the top, while attracting the attention of potential customers and consumers?

Let’s take a look at 3 different techniques that can be adopted to help a brand do just that.

1) Build your brand in unexpected ways.  Are you more likely to remember a run of the mill event in your life, or one that brings a certain shock factor?  This deviation from expectations can manifest itself in a variety of ways.  One example is through partnerships.

Marshawn Lynn Progressive PartnershipFor example, as AdWeek exemplifies, Seattle Seahawks player Marshawn Lynch teamed up with Progressive Insurance to film a commercial to attract the attention of a broader audience.  Another example, as examined by DailyWorth, is through experiences that customers are able to actually take part in.

With so much branding and marketing work depending exclusively on 2-dimensional images and visuals, those that immerse customers in the brand can actually be more effective than their print counterparts.  These may include planned experiences ranging from distribution of a brand’s product to a celebrity co-hosted party put on by the company or organization.  Oftentimes, the unexpected grips our attention far tighter than those we are accustomed to.

2) Ensure consistency of values.  One of the key foundations of a brand is the set of values at its base.  In order to know what you are truly selling, consistency is key, both to increase the success of your branding efforts and to effectively reach your target market.  Though it is beneficial to surprise your audience with experiences and efforts that are out of the norm, consistency and an established level of expectation with regard to the main characteristics of your brand are necessary.  As explained in the b2bmarketingblog based out of the United Kingdom, you need a ‘predefined set of values’ that can ‘convey to your clients how you operate.’

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The outdoor clothing outfitter Patagonia, is a “visionary leader in sustainability” that “values…truth,” as examined by Fast Company; acknowledging and broadcasting these values that make up the core of their brand ensure that their work has a streamlined vision that guides the work they create, and the perception that is projected.  When everyone has reached a common understanding of what a brand believes in, the goals of the brand, on both the production and reception sides, can be more easily reached.

3) Create a narrative.  Once you have determined the values your brand stands for and the ways that they can be presented in an attractive way, you must create a narrative to present your brand in a cohesive, entertaining way.  As explained by FastCompany, “You want other people to hear it and want to share it.”  When a story is developed, it will easily stand out and remain in the minds of the audience, encouraging them to share your story with others, essentially taking advantage of the benefits of word of mouth marketing.    One such brand that relies on a branding narrative is eos.

Through its commercial advertisements, the lip balm company utilizes the story line of an attractive female, the user of the brand, who gains attention from an equally attractive male lead due to her use of the product.  Not only does this story line draw attention and the desire to become the women that are depicted, but it creates a train of thought associated with the brand that leads others to ponder and discuss it with others, as well.  When your customers and target audience are impressed with you, they are more likely to share with others, further increasing your chances of success.


In order to stand out against the competition, it is crucial that a brand takes the initiative to ensure theirs is successful.  If they cannot keep up, they will quickly and swiftly fall behind.  Such success can be achieved through a set of consistent values and unexpected experiences presented in a cohesive way that is both easy to understand and enticing for others to share.  Your brand is calling; how will you respond?

Suggested Reading

  • AdWeek | 5 Tips From Progressive’s CMO on Building a Brand That Cuts Through the Clutter
  • DailyWorth | 6 Successful Strategies to Make Your Brand Stand Out
  • Fast Company How to Create a Brand with Values

Jaclyn Gabel

Jaclyn Gabel is an alumna of University of Michigan. She served as a YOakleyPR Marketing Intern during the Fall 2015 cycle.

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