You Either Have a Brand, or You Have a Commodity

You Either Have a Brand, or You Have a Commodity

You either have a brand, or you have a commodity.

CPG brands – grocery retailers want incremental net new revenue.

What this means:

If you have a peanut butter brand and someone is already going into the grocery store to buy peanut butter, and when they get to the peanut butter section, they decide to choose your brand over another brand.

You’re not actually making the grocery store incrementally net new revenue.

The customer was already going to buy peanut butter, you’ve just shifted the revenue from one brand to another.

This is why I say, ‘the aisle is not your battleground’.

In this case, you may not have a strong enough brand and, therefore, you may just be a commodity.

A commodity is something that is interchangeable within a category (e.g. gold, oil, rice, water…)

👉 What to do instead

Create a strong enough brand so that customers go into the store specifically looking for your peanut butter.

If the store is sold out, or doesn’t stock it, they ask the clerk or manager. They don’t consider any other alternatives.

For me, there are no alternatives to Nike sneakers. I only wear Nike. The reason Nike resonates with me is because they have amazing products, do brand partnerships / collabs, sponsor the best athletes, are innovative, sponsor events, expand into new markets (i.e. skateboarding, streetwear)…

All these things were decisions that took place in a boardroom. Any other company could do what Nike did, but they haven’t. They have the same access to talent, innovation, athletes… but for whatever reason, they missed the mark or it wasn’t baked into their DNA.

Nike has also been consistently popular for decades. Branding is not easy, and it takes time. But if done well, it will be the very thing that allows you to stand apart.

What is Good Content?

First, what do we mean by content? I like to think of content as video-first, but, I know content for a lot of people still means blogs. I’ll try to capture some key elements that apply to both.

Here are some of the elements you need:

For video / social media

  • Scroll-stopping hook within the first 3 seconds
  • Visually and auditorily engaging
  • Framing, lighting, editing, sound needs to be high quality
  • Original
  • Interesting / pattern interruption

For blogs

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Purposeful
  • Entertaining
  • Graphical elements to breakup large blocks of text
  • Formatting
  • Length (ideally 800 – 2,000 words)
  • Rhythmic sentence structure (i.e. various sentence length)

In both cases, your content needs to be engaging, valuable, and contextually relevant based on the platform.

The better your content, the more time on page / watch time you will have, the lower bounce rates / skip rates you will receive, and the more quality backlinks / likes, comments, saves, and shares you will earn. These are all positive signals that you are sending to the platform’s algorithm that will help with your organic reach.

Related Content: All Brands Must Follow this One Golden Rule on Social Media

Strategies for Improving Your Content Marketing

Too often B2B companies create content and just post it on their company page. But it hardly ever reaches their audience organically.

To overcome this, I would suggest:

Social media – have staff, especially the CEO, post on their social pages, and also post in groups where your audience hangs out. 

I posted something about SEO once on my LinkedIn page and it got 200 impressions and 1 like. That’s because my LinkedIn connections don’t care about SEO as much as I do. I posted that same post in a marketing group and it got 10,000+ impressions, hundreds of comments and likes, new connection requests… 

Also, just because you post it once, it doesn’t mean you can post it again. You can reschedule it, change the title, change the feature graphic, etc.

I called this the three Rs of Content – Reuse, Remix, and Repurpose.

Paid promotion – put a little ad spend behind it and target it to your audience. It doesn’t have to be much, $20 – $100 per post can often be enough to guarantee it’ll be put in front of the right people. Again, going back to what I first said – is it something the audience would care about? Does it have an engaging title? Does the cover art looking interesting and appealing? Lots to consider here.

Too often when companies hit publish, they move onto the next one, and hope and pray that their post will organically take on a life of its own and go off into the world and do what it needs to do.

Sadly, this is rarely the case.

Once you hit publish, that content should go in a spreadsheet and you should set some time aside every month to monitor what each post did in terms of impressions, engagement, and so on. There are many other things you need to do as well such as uploading it to Google Search Console, SEO optimization, rescheduling, A/B testing, and planning what happens next.

Repurposing content is huge – can we turn this thing into something else (or better yet, 10 other things)? Could it be a video, or a podcast topic, or a webinar, or an infographic, or can we post it on Medium or LinkedIn Pulse, or create social posts from it…? Essentially you want to tailor your content for each platform, considering the format and style.

Partnerships and Collaborations can be a great way to amplify content – they can post it on their channels and you could do the same for theirs. Partners are those who share a common audience but are not competitors.

Newsletters can be a great way to distribute content, but too often companies neglect the most important part – collecting emails. There is a whole strategic initiative in and of itself with this, which I won’t go into.

In terms of long form video content, that needs to be chopped up into smaller clips for Reels, YouTube Shorts, and TikTok videos. There is a whole methodology here.

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