3 Essential Brand Strategies for Emerging Markets

Being a startup business in a startup industry — with no built-in customer base — is a tough road

Being a start-up business in a start-up industry — with no built-in customer base — is a tough road. Emerging industries are rife with new players making noisy claims and uneducated consumers. When building your brand, give yourself a leg up over your competition — and a lasting competitive advantage — by doing one or more of these three things to attract, win and keep the customers you want.

1. Stand Out From the Crowd

Identify Your Differentiation

Colorado has seen a mad dash of companies cropping up in the fast-mainstreaming cannabis space, but without any clarity on what makes them unique. The oversaturation of brands with the “canna-” prefix, green color palettes, and messaging targeting 20-something males is enough to make us wince.

LucidMood (lucidmood.net) exemplifies a truly killer differentiation strategy. LucidMood identified their target, women and older users, and serves those audiences’ specific needs.

Their tag line, “Elevate your mood without clouding your mind,” puts LucidMood’s meaningful value proposition front and center. Their colorful, design-forward vaporizers feature cannabis in a micro-dose application for a consumer who isn’t seeking an intense psychoactive experience — a position that may be niche now, but will dominate the market as it matures.

LucidMood is playing big. They see themselves as more than a cannabis brand; they’re a wellness and lifestyle brand. They know exactly who they’re talking to, they’ve claimed what’s theirs uniquely to own, and they’re managing all the details of their brand to stand out from the crowd. Bravo, LucidMood.

2. Get Sticky

Don’t be a Brand, be a Movement

In just 15 years, co-working has grown into a $26 billion industry — and is expected to grow 42% by 2022.  Denver is the fifth fastest-growing co-working market in the world. How does a co-working brand stand out? Commit to what you care about and go all in — so those who care about the same things will find you.

The Riveter (theriveter.co) is rapidly expanding across the nation because they’re crystal-clear not just on what they offer, but why they exist: to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, especially for women.

For the Riveter, this is not simply a market position, but a heartfelt vision to make the world a better place. Members don’t join a co-working space, they join a movement — one that is committed to both social change and their individual success.

The Riveter is more than a co-working brand; it’s a national networking brand. Its mission is the social glue that binds their fast-growing community together and generates brand awareness and attraction that extends far beyond its current brick-and-mortar footprint. That’s a platform for growth.

3. Create New B2B Customers

Make a Personal Connection

Technology is in a permanent state of flux. Even the most sophisticated B2B buyer can be flummoxed by perpetually emerging features, functions, categories, and claims. No wonder business purchases generate feelings of personal risk at twice the rate of consumer purchases; nobody ever got fired for buying the wrong jar of peanut butter. MachineShop (machineshop.io) saw an opening in edge computing, where most players were focused on the bleeding edge of a technology that was paralyzingly murky: Lower the barriers to entry and beat the fear of stepping into a new category by putting the power of Brilliantly Simple Device Management in the hands of target customers.

MachineShop knows what so many B2B brands in any category don’t: Organizations don’t make decisions, people do. They want to feel safe, confident, and smart. They want the brands they choose to deliver business results and make them look and feel good, too. Emotional reassurance is the key to winning today’s B2B buyer. Put what they care about most at the heart of your brand story and you’ll have a winning formula.

(This sponsored content was provided by SIGNAL.csk.)

Cheryl Farr is the founder of SIGNAL.csk, a Denver-based brand consultancy and strategic creative firm. She is a brand innovator, public speaker, a former lifestyle and travel writer, mid-century modernist, passionate traveler, New York Giants fan and Instagram voice of her shih tzu, Harry Carson

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