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A simple four-question framework can better define your company’s brand and communicate what differentiates your business from competitors, according to Gerry O’Brion of What Big Brands Know. Asking who are your company’s ideal customers, what are your insights from your customers, what is your desired outcome, and what is the reason customers should choose your company can help build a more powerful brand, O’Brion said during his education session “Build Your Brand, Build Your Business: Becoming the #1 Choice in a Crowded Market ” at the 2020 International Builders' Show in Las Vegas.

O’Brion said that customers don’t “buy” anything, they instead choose between options. When your company’s services can’t be differentiated between competitors, it confuses customers instead of helping them make choices. Additionally, more harmfully, the number one factor for customers when they can’t differentiate between brands is price.

“If someone else in your market can say what you say, you haven’t helped the customer choose you, you’ve just made them more confused,” O’Brion said. “In order to become the number one choice, you must be different from your competitors in a way that your customers value.”

The first step to influencing how customers choose is better understanding your customers and how they make their choices. O’Brion said the key is proving to customers that they are making a good choice in selecting your company. Websites and marketing material that boast phrases such as the "most trusted," "best in the industry," and "most reliable" are generic and repeatable by all competitors, not having the desired effect when marketing to customers. The first step to building a more powerful brand, according to O’Brion, is defining your ideal customer to ensure you are delivering a message with that cohort in mind.

“The more clear you are about who you serve, the faster your business grows,” O’Brion said. “The more clear you are about who you are perfect for, the more clear those people become that you are perfect for them. Then they tell other people who are just like them.”

After defining an ideal customer, making changes requires gathering insights from customers to learn what they want more of and what they want less of. A key marketing strategy is honing in on what customers want to avoid and using this in your marketing material. Customers are more motivated to avoid what they don’t want than choose what they want, according to O’Brion. After gaining customer insights to inform your company’s message, help identify the measurable outcome that will be delivered from choosing your company’s services.

“Your outcome is about them [the customer],” O’Brion said. “Your customers care more about what you do for them than why you do what you do. They care about how you do that differently or better than everyone in a way that’s valuable to them.”

The final, and most important, step in developing a more powerful brand is finding your “because,” according to O’Brion. Customers crave proof they are making a good choice, the “because” in your company’s branding. O’Brion said this “because” is often already in practice, but not communicated to customers.