What I Learned About Branding from a Drive Through Manhattan

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What I Learned About Branding from a Drive Through Manhattan

New York City is known for its tightly packed streets and bright lights. No matter where you are in Manhattan, you’re likely to find something new, crazy, or unexpected.

If you’re driving, things can come at you fast, or slow down to a crawl depending on traffic. However, wandering through the streets of the Big Apple can be enlightening. From the shining displays of Broadway to the crowded billboards of Chinatown, marketers can learn a lot from Manhattan’s competition to stand out.

But how can a city teach you about branding and marketing? When you’re in a car, you’re limited to what you can see when passing by stores, restaurants, and more. Similar to the internet, most people aren’t interested in getting out of their cars for just anything. Instead, companies must resort to some interesting tactics to truly stand out. Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned on my drive through the Big Apple.

“The physical space provides customers

that with a break from the same status

quo and delivers on that promise. ”

Make Yourself Very Visible

Much like New York’s crowded streets, the internet is a high-speed scene most of the time. When I drove through Manhattan, I noticed that most stores didn’t really stand out. Maneuvering by building after building, the only times I looked out at the sidewalk was when a storefront tried to differentiate itself and be bold.

Branding online works the same way. Consumers have so many options today that most companies seem to blend together. Your brand is your opportunity to differentiate yourself by being visible, daring, and unique. Following industry trends is not a bad idea, but trying to emulate every other company can quickly land you in the same place hundreds of others are already occupying. Work to make yourself.

Make Sure You’re Everywhere (That Matters)

You can call this the Starbucks effect. Driving through NYC, one of the most obvious fixations is the sheer amount of the coffee chain’s stores throughout the city. While this by itself is not a great suggestion, it does point to one big theme. Aside from making your brand visible, the next most crucial step is making sure it’s placed everywhere your audience is visiting.

It’s important to research and identify the best areas to place advertisements, mentions, guest blog posts, and more. By ensuring your name is visible in as many places as possible, you can give your brand a bigger opportunity to affix itself in consumers’ minds. Much like Starbucks, make sure to have your foot in every door and corner that could help your company expand its reach.

Offer Your Customers Value

Manhattan doesn’t lack for options. No matter where in the island you are, there are always choices for everything, from food to entertainment to plumbing. With so much competition, the businesses that stand out as you drive are those that offer something their competitors can’t, or don’t yet.

As I drove through down Fifth Avenue, I noticed that all the stores tended to blend together. Clothing stores that all offered the same jeans and shirts; electronics stores hawking the same devices. The one store that stood out?

As I reached the south of Central Park, I noticed the Apple Store, a glass box that houses a massive underground store. While it may only offer branded consumer electronics, the store itself presents a refreshingly unique experience.

The physical space provides customers with a break from the same status quo and delivers on that promise. Your company may not be the only one selling your product, but your brand can offer customers something distinctive and value-added.

Provide an Experience, Not a Sale

Most importantly, as I drove through Times Square, I realized that the storefronts that called my attention were one of a kind. Not content to be simply a building front with a sign or window decoration, these stores went the extra mile to create an enveloping experience.

Brands are a powerful tool for companies. Instead of simply fitting the mold, think of how your company can stand out when working to engage an audience.

These activities can take the form of offers, promotions, social media, or regular marketing, but your brand should always focus on creating memorable experiences. Customers may buy from many stores, but they’ll go back to the one they remember.

Your brand, website, and store should always offer more than products. They should provide something so exceptional and memorable that customers can’t help but come back.

Flashing Lights Aren’t Always a Good Thing

One characteristic that becomes readily apparent when driving through Broadway is the amount of different plays and musicals that appear to be staged every night. With billboards that seem larger than life, you could be forgiven for thinking they’re all Tony winners. However, all that glitters is not gold. Most of these shows are expensive, and many of them are less than thrilling.

Don’t waste money on flashy advertisements and offers your brand can’t deliver. Focus on creating a brand that is powerful, trustworthy, and matchless without all the bells and whistles. Customers may fall for flashy lights at first, but they won’t spend money twice on a store that doesn’t have something worth their while.

It may seem like traffic is boring, but if you keep your eyes open, there are lessons to be learned everywhere. Always make sure to apply what you learn, and uncover how Tailor Brands can help you put discovery into action with our powerful logo maker and branding tools.