Finding your niche
How is your organisation unique?
To identify this effectively you need to speak to your teams, your current, past and potential clients and look at your competitors. It’s quite an undertaking. We often take clients through a brand pyramid creation exercise, we sit with a board and work through some tough questions, we discuss client feedback and we listen carefully.
Your brand isn’t just your logo: it’s the whole experience of interacting with your company. Only once you’ve identified the essence of your brand, can you communicate it well.
Questions to ask
Your USP relates to your sector-focus, your geographical focus, the prices you charge, the salaries you pay and how you deliver your services. In our sector, this normally relates to who delivers your service. Your people are the only thing that make your company unique so think hard about the type of people you employ and how that has created a specific company culture. When your brand is consistent, your people are effective ambassadors of your brand in your marketplace.
It’s not just organisations that need to find a niche. There’s been a lot of talk in Greater Manchester over the last decade about developing complementary plans for the city’s constituent boroughs, so we don’t end up with 11 versions of Altrincham markets.
Check the external market
Successfully developing your niche relies upon it being achievable. In their first economic plans, eight of the nine UK Regional Development Agencies set themselves the objective of making their region the leading region in Europe for nano-technology.
Branding done well
I met Paul Vernon, CEO of Thornton Science Park, part of the University of Chester, last week. Paul is clear that the USP of Thornton Science Park is that it will remain exactly that, with no forays into non-science businesses. He’s also choosy about who he works with – he’s doesn’t want to confuse his brand. I’ve spoken to organisations who work with the science park – they are on message: branding done well.
Other branding done well
Manchester – cocky, industrial, the first, the best
Bruntwood – confidently northern, office space provider
Luma – straight talking, professional services
Altrincham – redefining the ‘market town’