"How far do you live from Waco, TX?" "Do you watch HGTV?" "Have you seen Chip and Joanna?" These are questions I've heard from California to Pennsylvania and Kansas to Tennessee.

People are just obsessed with Chip and Joanna Gaines, a couple living on a farm in central Texas who spends their days remodeling dilapidated homes. These are just normal folks, flipping inexpensive houses in a small town.  They decorate the homes with vintage farm items, decorate with painted exposed paneling (now called shiplap), and have their friend repurpose some old wood into a dining room table. 

If I told you five years ago that this would have people glued to their TV waiting for the big reveal, or traveling to a town plagued by bad press to shop at a store in an abandoned rusty silo, you would think I was truly crazy. If I told you this was big business, including real estate, a Bed and Breakfast, a store front, a bakery and branded items, you would want on-board.
Chip, Joanna, Shiplap and Creating a Killer Brand Identity

So what are people really buying when the pick up a #Shilap shirt or an old metal milk bottle holder?  They are buying a piece of the brand of Chip and Joanna.  It's not that Chip and Joanna have created something new, the market is flooded with realtors, house flippers, decorators, contractors and store owners.  What sets these two apart is that they created a brand that people identify with and want to be a part of.  For lack of a better term, everyone wants to be on Team Magnolia.

Here is how you create a brand that is more than a business name and creates a following:

Develop a Unique Brand Identity

According the American Marketing Association, a brand is the "name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers."

Your brand is who you are conveyed through attributes, values, purpose, strengths, and passions. You must have this clearly defined for your business, otherwise you can't develop your brand.

This must be unique.  It can't be "We deliver superior service and are pleasant to work with."  These are not unique differentiators, these are necessary traits for doing business.

Differentiate Your Business

Magnolia Farms (Chip and Joanna's brand), Starbucks, Lululemon and Trader Joe's are all brands with a strong following who operate in a highly competitive and saturated market.  While your business may not earn quite as a passionate a following, you can set yourself apart and create a loyal following.

Really look at who your business is and how it differs from the competition.  Find your niche, your specialty, or change the game. 

Change the Game

Lululemon created the "athleisure" style trend.  People are now comfortable walking around in work-out attire.  No longer are yoga pants and running tights just for the gym. Starbucks isn't just another run of the mill coffee shop; rather they have created a community gathering space that also just happens to serve coffee.

If you are finding it difficult  to differentiate yourself in your market, change the story.  Chip and Joanna are not just fixing up a houses, they are building a community.

Forbes did a great article just this week on how Today's Best Brands Aren't Marketing, They're Creating Movements.

I challenge you to look closely at your brand, differentiate it from your competitor and change the game.

If you need help please contact us at Marketing Eye Dallas.

Building brands is what we do.

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