Why Your Company Needs a Unique Message
A Unique Message Gives People a Reason to Care
And the best way to get them to care is to show them (a) why their tomorrow will be better with your product or service in their lives, and (b) why they won’t get that feeling of satisfaction/improvement/hope anywhere else.
The answer to these two questions is your brand story.
It’s the single thought you want your target audience to have when your name enters their mind. And it’s the first thing they tell others when asked about you. It’s the lasting impres-sion you leave your consumer with.
Let’s look at three famous companies who got to where they are with a unique message, each presented using a different technique.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE BASED ON MARKET CIRCUMSTANCE
In the early 1960s, Avis Car Rental had secured the #2 spot in the market be-hind Hertz, which had held the top spot for years.
Since their cars and prices were the same as Hertz, their unique message wasn’t to be found in either of these areas. In fact, the only thing that really separated Avis from Hertz was that Hertz was #1 and Avis was #2 — and they used this circumstance to create their point of difference:
“When you’re only No. 2, you try harder.”
We can’t afford to hire rude attendants or rent out cars with dirty ashtrays, they said in their messaging. We must work harder to earn your trust because we clearly don’t have it yet, so that’s what we do. Every time.
This unique message made people feel like they were getting better service with Avis, even if they weren’t. Avis put out this unique message for the next 50 years and did eventually overtake Hertz. And this campaign remains a golden example of what a unique brand message can do for your company.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE BASED ON CUSTOMER INSIGHT
In the early ’80s, athletic shoe technology was exploding. Market leaders of the day were trying to out-feature each other in their unique messaging: this one had vulcanized rubber, that one had an insole designed by NASA and so on.
But Nike decided to focus their unique message on the dual reality of the per-son buying the athletic shoes: (a) they need motivation to work out and (b) motivation comes from within, not from technology.
“If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”
It’s right there in their mission statement. And it was unique because it stood apart from their competitors at the time who were all out there messaging the science of their shoes.
And despite not being able to feel what makes Nike a great shoe any more than a New Balance, Reebok or Adidas, you feel like an athlete because Nike says you are.
This unique message made people feel capable and ready to push them-selves. And it wasn’t because of the shock absorbance or the material. It was Nike’s messaged belief in their customers by telling them to “Just Do It,” and implying that Nike has their backs (or, in this case, their feet).
This one unique thought has inspired their marketing and empowered people with bodies for over 35 years. And it’s not because their shoe is necessarily the best. It’s because their unique message is.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE BASED ON PRODUCT USAGE
Connect two LEGO pieces together and you have an airplane, a dinosaur or a castle — and this is true whether you’re seven years old or 77 years old.
In fact, a British study of 2000 adults found that 65% have old toys (Lego being one of the most popular) stashed away with the intention of passing them down to children or grandchildren. Fifty-seven percent of those keeping their old toys did so because they hold special memories for them.
LEGO used the HOW and WHO of their product to create their unique mes-sage.
LEGO’s unique message is that their product is a lifetime investment and a life-time activity. And the number of adults buying LEGO supports their claim.
As they always have, LEGO is encouraging imagination, creativity and fun. But their message is unique because it’s multigenerational.
Michael McNally, senior director of brand relations at Lego, explained further:
“There’s something about people more and more turning to the Lego brand for mindfulness,” says Michael McNally, senior director of brand relations at LEGO. “It’s this idea of getting lost in your own creative thought and losing sense of time and space and not being stressed out by what the end result looks like but more focused on how fun it can be in that process.”
Could this endless creativity be captured by other products? Sure. A piece of paper and a crayon could probably yield similar results. But the sense of calm and fulfillment isn’t going to be the same. Only with Lego can anyone, children and adults alike, utilize imagination and curiosity to shape their perfect play-world.
WHAT UNITES THESE UNIQUE MESSAGES?
None of these unique messages are about the product. They’re about the customer and how each of the companies — Avis, Nike and LEGO — uniquely improve their lives.
Today, when we think about these three companies, our single thoughts are better service, partner in improvement and lifetime creative outlet, respectively.
They’re what you’d say if someone asked you about each of the companies. And it would take a seismic event to make you think, do or feel anything different.
And that, as the title suggests, is why your company needs a unique message.