How do you stand out in the marketplace today? By providing a great service or an innovative product? We wish it were that easy. If you want your brand to stand out from your competition and attract the right audience, there is one simple way to do that: Be bold about who you are and what you believe. When you tell strong brand stories with a clear perspective, it is much easier to differentiate from your competition, make waves, and turn people into lifelong fans.
But what does being bold look like in practice? Glad you asked.
5 Tips to Be Bold in Your Marketing
Being bold isn’t necessarily about creating eye-catching content that stands out in the feed (although that never hurts). There are many more ways to tell a strong brand story that shows people who you are—and makes them want to be a part of what you’re doing.
1) Cultivate a strong point of view—even if it’s controversial.
Thought leadership is gold in marketing today, but very few people are really producing it. In every single industry, most people are simply regurgitating the same opinions. (Google any subject and you’re likely to see five articles that spout the same fluff and sound like they were written by the same person.) Lucky for you, this lack of quality thought leadership presents a huge opportunity to turn heads with some truly interesting, insightful, or edgy hot takes.
You don’t have to work that hard to find them either. You have plenty of experts behind your four walls, so why not tap them for interesting ideas or perspectives? Data storytelling can also be a unique way to share your perspective. Whether you use internal or external data, finding surprising insights or numbers that support your take is a great way to grab attention—and gain credibility.
Tip: Try these easy steps to turn your coworkers into content creators. Oh, and if you want people to see you as a thought leader, don’t say phrases like “I think” or “in our opinion…” in content. You don’t need to qualify your expertise. Simply share your perspective, clearly and firmly.
Example: There’s nothing more exciting than when a brand dispels a widely held belief. For example, the e-commerce platform Sana published data revealing a huge shift in the way B2B buyers prefer to buy (as they now prefer to complete purchases online than by talking to traditional salespeople). Sharing this type of insight—supported by data—shows they are experts in their field with a finger on the pulse of the latest trends.
2) Share your beliefs everywhere.
A strong brand starts with a strong brand heart, comprised of your purpose, vision, mission, and values. These are the nexus of your brand, and they guide the way you show up each day. If you want to attract customers and employees who share these beliefs, you need to be open and honest about what they are.
Of course, to do this well, you need to know your brand heart and what you stand for.
Tip: If you haven’t documented your purpose, vision, mission, and values, use our brand heart workbook to do it. Think about each brand value as a singular storytelling pillar, then brainstorm ideas within each pillar to come up with creative ways to turn your beliefs into content.
Example: Be Curious is one of Column Five’s brand values, and we are always interested in learning how other people approach their jobs. We created our Best Story Wins podcast to follow through on this value. In each episode, we get to deep dive into the way industry pros work and think, helping expand our own view of marketing, as well as our audience’s. (Fun fact: Many of our article ideas this year have been inspired by these conversations.)
3) Take a stand in a meaningful way.
It’s one thing to share your values; it’s another to boldly and unapologetically take a stand to support them. Whether it’s promoting sustainability, championing diversity and inclusion, or advocating for social justice, your willingness to use your platform for positive change shows that you really walk the talk (while rallying the people who share your beliefs).
Tip: If you can create content that not only communicates that stance but empowers others to embrace it too, you can build a true community around your values. Things like tools, templates, or media kits are a great way to prompt others to get involved.
Example: Patagonia is all about environmentalism and sustainability. As part of that push, they have a @wornwear program, which allows you to trade in your lightly used Patagonia gear. To promote this value (and encourage people to use the program), they created this helpful tip video to explain everything you need to know about the program. To expand on that story, they also share personal stories about Patagonia pieces that are particularly meaningful to their audience.
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4) Share your vulnerabilities—even if it’s scary.
Bold brands are brave enough to be honest and vulnerable. Although you may want to present a perfect facade to the world, people value authenticity over perfection. They want to see behind the scenes to understand who you really are. The more you can be vulnerable, the more you humanize your brand, stand out from your competition, and create meaningful connections with people.
Luckily, there are all sorts of ways to be vulnerable in your marketing.
- Share memorable lessons you’ve learned along the way.
- Share your epic fails or risks (even if they didn’t pay off).
- Share behind the scenes of your creative process.
While you might be hesitant to show your vulnerability for fear of looking like an amateur, people are far more likely to connect to you and your content if they feel that you are open and honest.
Tip: The key to sharing your vulnerability is pairing it with something of value for your audience. Share helpful insights, lessons, or takeaways you’ve learned that can improve your audience’s lives (or save them from the mistakes you’ve made).
5) Uplift organizations you believe in.
Cobranded collaborations can be a great way to promote your values, amplify other voices, and expand your brand reach in the process. Whether you’re supporting organizations, publications, or like-minded influencers, you can do this in both big and small ways.
- Share their content on social media.
- Cohost events.
- Donate your time, money, or expertise.
- Create cobranded content together.
By uplifting other entities in your ecosystem, you not only strengthen your brand’s sense of community but also extend your reach to a wider audience.
Tip: If you want to approach other organizations with content ideas, follow these best practices.
Example: Patagonia’s Answer With Action initiative encourages people to support local groups addressing the environmental crisis. Their website includes a tool to find groups near you. By making it easy to locate these groups, they take an extra step to uplift other organizations on the ground, connect their audience, and build a community around a shared cause.
The Secret Key to Winning Your Market Long Term
No matter your industry, product, or service, if you want your brand to win your market, you need to build a brand with a story that’s actually worth telling. If you want to ensure your brand is set up for success…
- Know your brand heart (aka purpose, vision, mission, and values).
- Document your brand strategy to get your tactics on paper.
- Strengthen your brand messaging to tell the most interesting stories possible.
Note: If you haven’t done this brand work the right way, no amount of marketing can help you band-aid over those core issues.
Luckily, if you’re looking to strengthen your brand and beat your competition, we’ve turned 10+ years of brand-building expertise into our new How to Build a Winning Brand course to help you tackle the process yourself. Or if you’re looking for a partner to help you bring your brand to life, check out our FAQs to find out what it’s like to work with us.
Above all, remember that the key to winning your market is staying one step ahead of the game. The more you learn, grow, and experiment, the easier it will be to outsmart your competition and create a marketing machine that converts people into lifelong fans.