“How Do I Know What Makes My Brand Truly Different?”

Editor’s Note: The questions you don’t ask could hold the inspiration you need to finally take action. As this year begins to end, we are answering the questions people have asked us about our work.

There is only one absolute differentiator: your beliefs. No one else can have your beliefs. No one can copy them or what they mean to you. No one can change them without your permission.

But Justin and Emily, what do my beliefs have to do with my brand?

Glad you asked!

Your beliefs are the root of your brand; informing everything from mission to message to customer experience to content creation.

This is why our Root Sessions are specifically designed to encourage a leader to go inward to the source of their beliefs, talents and value. These comprise a root system of differentiation that is then manifested in messaging, positioning and visuals.

Once you’ve done the inner work to establish your beliefs, for yourself and your organization, you can dig deeper into how other people (your customers) experience these beliefs to determine more differentiators.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. (Yes, that’s a Princess Bride quote — Inigo Montoya, if you must know.)

Let’s say you have determined one of your beliefs is in integrity.

To test how this belief has extended into the experience of your brand, you can ask your customers a question like, “When we work together and I am able to fulfill the promises I make, how does that make you feel?”

This questions and the subsequent discussion sheds light on whether or not your brand’s beliefs are disconnected from the brand experience you are providing.

If they are, don’t panic.

It’s just data.

You can begin the process of reducing that disparity immediately. In fact, the conversation is the first step. The conversation conveys your concern and care for your brand — which is highly attractive both from a spiritual and from a neurological standpoint. It tells your customer that what you are doing for your work is connected to a deeper passion and belief. And everyone wants a piece of your passion. Everyone.

Here’s another huge benefit to organizing your differentiation around your beliefs: freedom! Freedom from pretense. Freedom from wasting resources on low results marketing. Freedom from the anxiety of trying to stand out.

When people experience this freedom, they are imbued with a sense of confidence, which is the most common outcome of the Root Session. Final and complete confidence in your brand and in what makes you different — at your core.

Ready to establish — once and for all — your root system of beliefs, talents and events? We offer 30-minute exploration calls to determine if you are in the right place for a Root Session. Email humans@rootandriver.com to schedule yours.

Emily Soccorsy + Justin Foster are cofounders of the intrinsic branding practice known as Root + River. Together with their defiantly different clients, they uncover then articulate the foundational elements of the brand. Then, they provide brand strategy and brand coaching as the brand is rolled out internally and externally. Obsessive about language and differentiation, Emily + Justin are also authors and speakers. Follow @rootandriver @fosterthinking and @emilyatlarge.

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