Stock Photography vs. Real Imagery? Which Converts Better?

Making a decision to use stock photography or real images isn’t nearly as easy as one may assume. This is because there is no clear-cut right or wrong answer. Ultimately, it boils down to what a person may be looking for and what they are trying to achieve with the image. Variables exist when trying to make your decision, as there are many considerations to keep in mind.

Below, we will attempt to break down some of the pros and cons of each to help you make whichever choice is right for you. Some prefer their ultimate final product has the genuine feel only a real picture can provide while some prefer the ease and simplicity of stock imagery. It all boils down to which more closely aligns to your vision.

Stock Photography

We’ll start by breaking down the difference between the two. Real images are pictures taken by you or a professional photographer for whatever use your heart desires. Stock photography is typically a storage bank of pre–existing pictures that you can choose from. Some of these storage banks are free to use, such as Google Images, but be careful! Things are not always as they appear as we’ll discuss below. For the savvy user, however, stock photography can lend itself to some pretty sizable upsides.


The first thing to consider when choosing between stock photography and real images is price. As mentioned earlier, there are many stock photograph banks that will allow you to choose from an assortment of images for free or very little cost, both of which tend to be very budget friendly.

Additionally, those working within time constraints might find hiring a professional photographer too time-consuming or expensive. Stock photo banks tend to offer a sweeping selection of images, with a search feature making it quick and easy to find a suitable offering with just the click of a button.


The most glaring con on of stock photos is lack of originality. Stock photo banks can be a great option for many people which is exactly what it sounds like–an option for everybody. Purchasing a license to use the image doesn’t prevent the next person who happens upon it from doing the exact same thing. Since most printing outlets allow customers access to the business stock photo image bank at no additional charge, the odds of running across a previously used picture are higher than one might expect.

Moreover, many stock photo banks rely on cliched, cartoonish characters or pictures that don’t lend themselves to a product or service meant to be taken seriously. Lastly, and possibly most importantly, using free stock photo banks such as Google Docs can come with a hidden charge if you’re not careful. Since many of these pull from images available online, the image may not be free of charge to use even if the platform is. This can lead to licensing violations, which can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars if you’re not careful.

Real Images

Real Images are quickly becoming the preferred choice for users, as the pros heavily outweigh the cons. Moreover, people typically find the ability to have complete control over the image, its quality, and how it’s used far too enticing. Since real images are photographs taken by you or a paid professional, you are in complete control over what happens next. The creativity that comes from being the one to decide the exact image as opposed to settling for something close can be a small but important distinction when it comes to branding.


It goes without saying that the biggest pro to using real images is originality and flexibility. Whatever vision you may have in mind can be created, with the option of taking multiple shots from multiple angles until you get the result that best suits your needs. This also gives you control over the quality of the image and the ability to format it for its intended use without incurring additional design fees, as many printers will not format images for free. Avoiding licensing fees, while not the biggest pro on this list, can save you time and headache by not having to worry about whether or not the image is being used correctly or as intended.


When it comes to a list of cons for using real images, there really aren’t any outside of potential cost. Hiring and scheduling a professional photographer can be expensive, depending on what you’re asking for. Investing in photography equipment or design software can also be costly but not something you would likely do unless you were to pursue such a vocation on a regular basis anyway. With cell phone cameras getting better with each generation and photoshop applications aplenty, the cost doesn’t at all need to be a deterrent.   

As mentioned above, ultimately, it depends on your vision and which is better going to achieve what it is you want to do. Both offer their advantages and disadvantages, but at the end of the day, it’s about which is going to represent you and your brand the best.  

Trademarking Your Brand

Lawyers working for Entrepreneur Magazine have recently started sending “cease and desist” letters to business owners who use the word “entrepreneur” anywhere in their name. These letters urge the recipients to stop using the word “entrepreneur,” as it violates Entrepreneur Magazine’s trademark.

In a blog entry about the subject, Seth Godin, a guest blogger on, writes, “With great cost and hassle, fledgling entrepreneurs […] who have finally gotten their business off the ground now have to dig in to either fight a huge law firm and their misguided but well-funded lawyers–or spend the money to change what they already built.”

There are a couple of problems with this, but most importantly: you can’t trademark the word entrepreneur. At least not the way Entrepreneur Magazine is trying to. Why not? Read on to learn more.

What Is a Trademark?

A trademark is defined by the US Patent and Trademark Office as “a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” The term is generally used to refer to the lesser known “service mark,” which differentiates a business providing goods with one providing services.

You don’t need to register a trademark or any other form of branding to enjoy its legal protections. Simply using the mark—which generally means a logo, brand name, slogan, or other identifying device—grants you common law rights. And trademarks, unlike patents and copyrights, never expire (as long as the proper paperwork is periodically filed).

Speaking of patents and copyrights, they’re similar in that they’re intended to protect intellectual property rights. Patents protect inventions, and copyrights protect literary, artistic, musical or film material. Both expire after a set period of time.

Apple vs Apple

The thing about Entrepreneur Magazine’s ill-advised attempt to prevent others from using the word “entrepreneur” is that you can’t trademark generic words. Under US trademark law, generic words (like apple, or entrepreneur) are not registrable, which means you can’t stop anyone from using them.

In fact, Apple Computer (now Apple, Inc.) famously sued Apple Records, which was owned by The Beatles. Apple Computer didn’t win—in fact, they ended up paying Apple Records a settlement to put the case to bed. They did reach an agreement that basically stated Apple Records wouldn’t go into the computer business, and Apple Computer wouldn’t go into the music business.

You can’t trademark a common word. Combine that word with the name of a product, (such as Apple Computer or Apple Records) and you’ve got a trademark.

If Entrepreneur made, say, smartphones and had a product called the Entrepreneur Phone, they’d have a defensible trademark. Likewise, if someone else started a company using the name Entrepreneur Magazine, they could sue over that as well. But just the word “entrepreneur”? Not a chance.

Though it remains to be seen what will happen with Entrepreneur Magazine’s threats, trademark law is pretty well defined in this area (though well-paid lawyers can make defending a trademark ultimately not worth the effort for small business owners, so it remains to be seen how this plays out).

Registration: A Good Idea

Though you don’t need to register your trademark in order to have it protected, it’s a good idea to do so, as registration brings benefits that common law use doesn’t. By registering your trademark, you create a public record of your trademark, a nationwide “legal presumption” of ownership, and exclusive rights to use the trademark for goods or services defined by the registration.

If there’s a business out there called Entrepreneur Consulting (or Entrepreneur Bicycles, or Entrepreneur Bar & Grill for that matter), their legal defense against something like those cease and desist letters would be substantially easier if they’re registered.

It’s a good idea to trademark your business’s name as soon as possible if you want to protect it and prevent other people in similar lines of business from using the same name, logo, or other identifying characteristic. The trademark registration process even includes an existing trademark search that will ensure you’re not infringing on an already established trademark, and to ensure that the word, phrase, logo or other mark you’re trying to register doesn’t already exist.

If you are running a company already named something like, say, Apple Records and you later find out that there’s another (much more famous) Apple Records in existence, you not only have to change the name of your company (and all of your stationary, letterhead, and etc.), but you have to stop selling products or services under that name—and recall any products already on the market with that name attached to them. That could get expensive.

If, on the other hand, you spend years of effort and untold resources making your company a success in its field and another company comes along with the same or very similar name? You can protect your trademark (and your exclusive ability to sell goods and services under that name) by filing a lawsuit against the newcomer.

As long as you have a trademark that’s specific to the kind of product you’re selling, you should be protected (which is why Apple Computers wasn’t able to make Apple Records change its name).

Personal vs Business Brands

If you’re trying to get your name out there, whether it be to promote your business or your blog, you will need to decide between building a personal brand or a business brand. Both of these choices come with pros and cons, and learning the differences between the two of them might make a world of difference to your project! Read on to learn more.

Personal brands

A personal brand is built around you as an individual. Your name is the focus, meaning  people will associate you, as a person, with your products. Celebrities, authors, and professional speakers frequently use personal brands.


If you’re a one-person business, personal branding is a great way to make your services or products more relatable. People will feel more connected to your work, because they will feel as if they know you as a person. Personal brands are also very flexible; if you ever want to change the direction of your project or business, it’s much easier to do with a personal brand. People will understand it as you making an individual choice rather than a business suddenly changing its focus.


It can be difficult to scale your personal brand. If you want to expand, you’ll have to find a way to hire people (and all the different ideas they’ll bring to the table) while still maintaining your image as an individual. Similarly, it can be very hard to sell a personal brand, because it won’t make any sense being operated by someone other than you!

Business brands

A business brand does not have one individual face. Corporations or companies that unite under one logo are considered business brands. If an individual were to start a business brand, it would not use their name, but a company name that either a team or individual would work under.


Business brands are often more immune to scandal or criticism. When one member of a company commits an offense, it is much easier to deal with than when a company centered around one individual suddenly has to address that individual’s mistakes. Business brands are also more sustainable. Because they are run by many people, or can be passed on to other people without confusion, business brands tend to be longer-lasting than personal ones.


Business branding generally requires more organization. Because what you’re promoting won’t be immediately obvious (compared to a well-known blogger, for example), you’ll have to put more work into raising awareness as to what, exactly, your brand does. You will also have to make decisions like what your company does and who you want your audience to be fairly immediately, and once you’re locked in, it can be difficult to change.

What You Can Learn From MARS Rebranding

When you hear the name MARS Incorporated, you probably think of Skittles, M&Ms, and the other popular candies this company produces. Unless you follow their brand closely, you probably do not consider petcare items like Pedigree or their leading food items, specifically UNCLE BEN’S, which is a billion dollar brand.

In an attempt to expand their business past the confectionary sector and bring attention to their other successful brands, MARS has recently updated their brand with a new company logo and a mission statement that will help establish the brand as something more than just delicious chocolate.

With these changes, MARS also worked to differentiate between their many business areas. The MARS brand now includes MARS Food, MARS Petcare, MARS Wrigley Confectionery, and MARS Edge. Unified through the MARS logo, which is now sleek and modernized, these segmented areas help highlight the company’s business interests while reminding their consumers that they offer more than candy.

With their differentiated business areas, modernized logo, and restructured mission statement, MARS is able to take their brand in a new, and ultimately more profitable, direction. If you think your company might need a similar update, here are a few things you can learn from the MARS rebranding:

Determine your brand’s direction and purpose

Rebranding is more than just marketing your business or giving it a new look or feel. When you rebrand, you are letting the world know what your company values, as well as the direction in which your company is heading. As such, it is vital for you to establish a company mission statement that will show the purpose of your company.

When you look at MARS and its rebranding efforts, you will notice that all of their changes support the new direction the company has taken. They are no longer focused on just pushing their candy and confectionery brands, and they want consumers to understand that they have much more to offer.

Is your company heading in a new direction? If so, what do you want your consumers to know about your brand? Are you heading in a new direction? Use this information to determine a course of action starting with an updated mission statement.

Craft a mission statement

Before you start rebranding your company, sit down with your team and ask yourself if the purpose or the mission of your company has changed. If so, come up with a mission statement to reflect this change and show your consumers the new direction your brand is going to take.

Even if you are not making changes to the purpose of your brand, you still need to have a mission statement. If your target audience is confused about what your brand does or of its purpose, a clear mission statement can help you resonate with them more effectively.

Consider the mission statement MARS recently created for its rebranding. Its new mission statement — “The world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today” — emphasizes that MARS is a brand that is not only looking ahead to the future, but also one that is working toward making that future brighter.

What does your existing mission statement say about your brand? If you cannot answer that question, or the answer to that question is different than what you would like for it to say, then you need to craft a new mission statement.

Support your mission statement

Every change that MARS made supports the fulfillment of their mission statement.

The company’s vice president of corporate affairs, strategic initiatives and sustainability, Andy Pharaoh, notes how young consumers- the future of the company’s success — want businesses to “stand up for things.” This new mission statement lets consumers know that MARS cares about the future it is helping to create. Their new logo features colors that are supposed to represent hope, optimism, and sustainability, which directly supports the company’s purpose, as well. Even the way they realigned their brand architecture supports the growth that they are aiming for in the future.

Whether you need to update your brand strategy because it is outdated and no longer relevant, or you want to emphasize a new purpose for your company, you should make sure that every single change you make helps support your mission statement.

Rebranding: the “Should you / Shouldn’t you” guide

Rebranding can revitalize a company… But should you do it?


Have you ever thought about rebranding?

If you’re like many business owners, the answer is a resounding yes.

After all, in the face of stagnant sales, incessant competition and changing markets, the idea of becoming a new, “different” company can be alluring.

But rebranding isn’t a walk in the park—and if you do it wrong, the consequences to your business can be dire.

Should you consider rebranding?

Here are some scenarios where overhauling your brand might make sense.

  • New product. If you’ve recently launched a new product or service that has the potential to confuse your customers, you might think about rebranding that part of the business. We don’t often recommend this approach, though. At BRANDING FOR THE PEOPLE, we feel it makes sense most of the time to create one Master Brand and then roll out sub-brands underneath it.
  • New mission. A shift in your most basic reason for being definitely merits a rebranding conversation. For example, if you’ve been providing services to clients and now want to focus exclusively on teaching them, a rebrand is probably in order.
  • New image. If you’ve had a PR disaster—or an actual one—and you’re trying to distance yourself from it, rebranding may help you achieve your goal. This is difficult to do though, especially in a world where the internet can help even the least savvy customers see through your efforts. Witness tobacco giant Philip Morris and their attempt to rebrand as Altria.
  • New customers. If you’ve managed to attract a new market—whether by choice or by accident—rebranding may make sense. In the early 2000s, for example, Andersen Consulting split from its parent because its best clients wanted only consulting services. It then rebranded to Accenture to further distance itself from the accounting giant. (Good thing, too, as Andersen collapsed over its ties to Enron.)
  • New needs from current customers. The Canadian arm of Radio Shack, after being bought out in a consumer electronics deal, initially rebranded as The Source by Circuit City. But when its new owner began to falter, it became simply The Source—a move whose timing couldn’t have been better. Circuits and radios are things of the past, and the new name suggests that no matter where electronics go in the future, The Source will be there to provide that tech to its customers. (And both Circuit City and Radio Shack are now distant memories.)
  • New competition. To say things were different in the 90s than they were in the 50s is an understatement. But through that whole time, Kentucky Fried Chicken had the word “fried” right there in its name. 1991 saw a move to KFC, however, in a move away from that F-word. Too many healthy restaurants were giving the chicken giant a run for its money—so the move made sense. (Unfortunately, they handled the rebranding poorly; rumors persist to this day that they switched to KFC because they were no longer legally allowed to claim their product was “chicken.”)

When shouldn’t you rebrand?

Occasionally, businesses undertake a rebranding for the wrong reasons. Here are three.

  • New management. If all you’ve changed about your company is the management group—and the same problems you’ve always had continue to exist—your rebranding will never work.
  • New whims. Department store Macy’s lost a staggering amount of brand equity when it moved to a “one-brand” policy and renamed iconic brands like Chicago’s Marshall Field’s and Memphis’ Goldsmith’s. At the time, the decision was seen as foolish; Macy’s seemed to have recovered by the beginning of this decade but is struggling again.
  • New internal issues. If you’ve identified that you’re having trouble connecting with your market, is that a branding problem? Or is it because your marketing is horrible, or your customer service is poor, or your services aren’t delivered well? Be careful—not every issue is one that rebranding can solve.


In a perfect world, your competition would never change their strategy, your customers would stay loyal forever, and you’d see exponential growth year after year. This is obviously not the case—and while you don’t want to be too hasty with a rebranding exercise, don’t discount the power of reinventing your brand, either.



Mastering Customer Confidence in 4 Steps

Building consumer confidence and your brand’s credibility is essential to the success of your brand. If you’re rebranding, it’s even more critical. Why go through the process only to repeat the same mistakes that shake customer confidence? 

Here are four key ways to make every single person that interacts with your brand feel like your best client.

Know your audience.

We talk about this all the time: It doesn’t matter how fancy or well-crafted your message is if it’s wrong for your audience. Even more than just knowing who they are, you need to understand what really makes your audience tick. Still more important, you need to know what really turns them off. And then you need to avoid doing it.

Be human.

Corporate brands run the risk of sounding, well, corporate. But as a personal brand, small business, or entrepreneur, you’ll sound human by default, right?

Not necessarily. Jargon, overly technical or specialized language, and hyper-specific acronyms or slang can cloud your message. While it’s audience-appropriate for some brands to use jargon heavily, many gain far more by simplifying their message for accessibility. Engage with your audience like they’re real people (because they are!), and they’ll respond in kind with confidence in your brand.

Be available.

The faster people can communicate directly with a real person, the better they’ll feel about your brand. Have processes in place where people can reach a real person who will take care of them. Keep your contact information up-t0-date and clearly stated on your website so people know how to reach you. 

Communicate like crazy.  

Communicate early and often. Let people know what you stand for. Keep your goals transparent so people can understand and get on board with what you stand for.

And when things go wrong? Address it directly, clearly, and openly in order to maintain client and consumer confidence. People love to be in the know and you have every opportunity for them to love you.

At the heart of all of this is having a brand that feels more like a fully-developed personality than a corporate robot. If you’re feeling like your brand needs a refresh on its communication strategy, we’d love to talk!

The Brand Story, Explained

Your brand story isn’t just your history, your CEO’s story, your stats and numbers, anything like that.

Any of those things can effectively be part of it, but an actual brand story is much more than a narrative. It’s about inspiring emotion and forming your audience’s beliefs and responses to your brand as a living thing with its own living tale.

And it has everything to do with your audience—how they feel and what they believe about you based on the signals your brand sends. The story is a complete picture made up of facts, feelings, and interpretations. It goes beyond the copy on a website, the text in a brochure, or the presentation used to pitch investors. Your story isn’t just what you tell people. It’s how you tell it. 

Your Brand’s Character

Just like in a story, your brand has a certain character. You’re always going to be the hero (or anti-hero) of your own story, and central to your own plot. Action never happens without you.

But as a character, how do you navigate tense situations? How do you negotiate your way through life into change? The way your character — your brand — handles these situations is what inspires your audience.

Create a Narrative

Storytelling is the most powerful element of your brand’s story. Think about the distance between describing Grey’s Anatomy as “it’s about people in a hospital” and an enthusiastic fan describing major plot points and long-running character developments that help to explain why it is that this person is so enthusiastic about the show. Think of this person as your client or customer: this is exactly why you want to provide thoughts, feelings, and beliefs for them to pass along.

Guest Speakers

You’re not going to be the only one telling your brand’s story. At one time, word of mouth was critical. But social media never sleeps, and your brand has its own 24-hour news cycle. People are out there engaging with your brand constantly. Having a story to fall back on is essential. You need to maintain control over the public perception you’ve worked hard to create.

Everything you do, from the colors and texture of your packaging to the staff you hire, is part of your brand story, and every element of it should reflect the truth about your brand back to your audience. If you want to build a successful, sustainable business, start here.

Five Steps to Perfect Your Lead Magnet

In order to build your email list, you need an effective, compelling lead magnet to bring customers into the fold. But actually sitting down and writing a lead magnet can be more daunting than you expect. What kinds of content will draw in the readers you want, and keep them around? The answer’s easier than you think.

We’re going to outline five crucial things to plan out before you sit down and compose your lead magnet copy. Ready?

Review Your Brand Platform & Know Your Audience.

First things first: You need to know what it is you’re delivering to your audience. What’s valuable enough to them to swap an email address for? What can you offer that nobody else can?

The first place you can look for this kind of info is your brand platform. It’s already spelled out for you there! Make sure you know who you’re targeting with your copy, and make sure you can provide what you’re promising.

Decide on a Format.

Next up, you want to decide on the best format for your content. Not everything has to be in eBook form, although that’s certainly a common format. You can provide a checklist or cheat sheet, you can create a calendar, a worksheet or workbook, or a template. Think of what you have to offer anyway – it doesn’t need to be complex or complicated, it just needs to be something worth something to your reader.

Think of the last time you were Googling and trying desperately to find specialized information. What did you find? Pretty good chance you came across a template or something that made you say “Oh, thank goodness.” THAT’S your goal in writing a lead magnet. Solve a simple problem and provide value.

Give a Quick Summary.

Before you get started, you need to be able to give a succinct description of what it is you’re writing. This is an exercise in specificity. Your audience has about three seconds to skim and decide if it’s worth their email, and you need to convince them it is.

Nail Your Title.

In the same vein, you need a catchy, irresistible title. This doesn’t have to be excessively clever, and probably shouldn’t be. You want the reader to know exactly what to expect, what form to expect it in, and deliver!

Think back again to that time you were Googling: were you looking for something crafty, superlative, or poetic? Nah. You wanted a push in the right direction – and something not so involved you had to follow it exactly. You want a crib sheet you can modify to fit your own needs.

Craft Your Opt-In Copy.

Maybe more important than the title: the opt-in copy. This is what lets people know exactly what it is they’re downloading and why. If you get this right, you’ve nailed it!

Looking for further examples? Check out some of what we have to offer!

Target Audience Mapping: How To Reach the BEST Audience

Going into business, we all have a pretty good idea of who we want to attract and how to speak to them.

But equally important is really knowing which customers you DON’T want. Or, more specifically, the customers and customer attributes that are wishy-washy, so-so, unengaged, uninspired, and overall not really part of the base you’re looking for.

It can be ok to turn away

It might seem odd to “turn away” customers, but one of the easiest traps to fall into is trying to be everything to everyone. It’s a slippery slope. After all, excluding feels counterintuitive. It feels rude.

But “turning away” is really a way of saying “I only want the best, most loyal customers who will loudly and proudly advocate for me at every turn.”

But in order to identify who these people are and who they are not, we need to identify everyone in our group, and then strategically sort them by degrees to which they align with our brand and vision.

Target Audience Mapping

If you’ve worked with us on your brand platform, you’ll know this as Target Audience Mapping. Target Audience Mapping helps us to create a lay of the land – an overview of everyone in our purview.

To begin Target Audience Mapping, you first need to determine a range your customers fall within. In our own example, one axis spans from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses (the range of what potential customers might fall under).

Our other axis describes an approach, ranging from strategic and holistic to tactical or specialized. When you cross the two, our target audience is looking for strategic and holistic approaches geared toward small businesses.

On a separate page, we identify the types of people who might be seeking out our services. This is sort of a Goldilocks process: Are we too big, too specialized, not quite the right fit? Or are we Just Right?

If we’re just right for them, they’re just right for us.

Marketing Messages: 5 tips for understanding your competition

You have a concept, a vision, a product, an audience. So why do you need to know what anyone else in your market is doing? You need to know what your competitions is using for marketing messages in order to make a splash.

It might seem like a sidetrack to your success, but every entrepreneur should know who their competitors are. In fact, they should know more than just who they are. Having a good understanding of your competition’s brand idea, color scheme, primary marketing messages, and key differentiators will help your brand to stand out.

We call this a competitive review, and it’s the process of putting together a dossier of your competition. This exercise is valuable in helping you to differentiate yourself from your competition. Sometimes brand messages are so ingrained with their product, it’s difficult to think of a similar product on its own terms.

But you can’t rely on the same marketing messages that are already out there, and in order to know what

Who are they?

Take a bit of time and write down every brand you’d consider a competitor to yours. Try to make the list exhaustive. Think of brands that aren’t necessarily a 1:1 comparison. For instance, are you a smaller coffee shop chain? Don’t limit yourself to just other coffee chains of the same size in your geographic area. Try to think of other value your clients might get from you. Why are they choosing you over grabbing a Red Bull? What do you offer that a home-brewed cup of coffee in a travel mug doesn’t? Try to come up with at least 10 brands you’re competing with for attention, and in your list, provide their logo for reference.

Brand Idea

A Brand Idea is the brand’s essence, it’s central focus and drive distilled into a brief phrase. Volvo might use “Safety First” as their idea. Campell’s might be “comforts of home”. This information might not be readily available to the public. If not, you can put it together with some thought.

Visual Themes

Once you’ve made a list, you can easily see visual patterns emerge. Is your corner of the market overwhelmed with pink? Are all the fonts bold and sans-serif? Fantastic. If you want to stand out, this is invaluable information. Seeing it aggregated together allows you to easily see what colors, fonts, patterns, and other visual elements will truly stand out in the marketplace.

Primary Marketing Messages

Your primary marketing message is the thing that makes your core audience need to know more. It speaks directly to them as if your brand knows them personally. By taking some time to identify your competitor’s marketing messages, you can identify subtleties in both how they define their market, and in how they speak to them. To go back to the coffee example, if you know your competition is speaking to the market’s need for caffeine, you can differentiate yourself by speaking to the need to slowly enjoy your coffee.

Key Differentiators

These are self-explanatory. What makes you different? Are you faster, cheaper, chicer, more niche, less frilly? To really know what makes you different, you have to understand what the competition is doing to differentiate. If you discover you’re very similar to a competitor, you can decide to change your point of differentiation, or focus on a particular aspect of your differentiation.

Avoiding duplicating the standard brand message is essential. After all, if you’re blending in? You’re not standing out.