We like metaphors around here, and one we use a lot to paint a picture of the perplexity of branding strategy is the “PAPER DOLL DILEMMA.” Remember Paper Dolls?  They were interactive play books where kids could extract the perforated dolls and outfits and interchange the outfits as they desired across all the dolls. They’re still around, of course, but they were a big deal back in the day.

We ask you to imagine your brand is one of those dolls and the outfits represent marketing messaging. If all the outfits fit you, your messaging isn’t specific enough, you are trying to be too many things, you are wearing too many hats, you are not focusing on what makes you unique, and you are not standing out. In addition, if the outfits not only fit your doll on the page but other dolls on the same page, you are blending in with others, you are copycat marketing, you are being too trendy, your message appeals to too may people, and you are not standing out.

Bottom line is that your marketing is not like paper dolls. Your marketing is a live runway show. You already know this, but your brand has its own style. Your brand needs to make its own fashion statement. If your brand is stripes, you should wear stripes. If your brand is polka dots, you should wear polka dots. You also have in your fashion arsenal those special accessories that form the icing to your outfit. Only you would wear them, but they are your signature statement pieces.

Defining what makes you unique is what marketing pros call Unique Selling Proposition, and if you click this bold link, we went into that in greater detail in another blog post (we even provided a trusty infographic you can use for reference). You have to convey to your customers why working with you is better, how it is different and why you instead of your competitors. It’s getting to the heart and soul of your brand, and emotional appeal always wins the day. It’s not a list of accessories…or…services…it’s how those accessories accentuate their business’s outfit or make their lives easier in conducting their business.

We can all avoid the “paper doll dilemma” if we just think about the fashion statement we’re trying to make with our brand. When you do this, and you are at the fashion show called marketing, you step on that runway with the strut like Tyra Banks, owning your brand, knowing exactly why your customers should work with you.

Now, sometimes defining your style can be tough in the beginning. It can fall flat like paper dolls on a page. It’s hard to flaunt it if you aren’t truly sure what to flaunt. It can be hard to walk in the high heels of marketing strategy. That is where we come in. You can consider us the brand fashion police, and we will help you define your brand and take it from paper doll to runway model in a few, simple steps.

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