Stereotypes & Antipodes Branding Strategy: How to Differentiate Your Design-Related Brand Case Study

The backstory

My name is Josh Bloch, I am the founder of Gingersauce — a professional tool for creating brand books.

The brand I have just presented has been on the market for about a few months. When I just started working on the project, I had an idea, I had a problem that my audience was facing, but, I needed to come up with a way to differentiate my brand from the ones that were already on the market, a rather difficult one to tap into.

The market

As I have mentioned before, Gingersauce was founded as a platform to help designers create brand books. Not do everything for them. However, in the market we were trying to get into the words automatizations, fast and effective, builder, creator are already stigmatized by a list of fast website and logo generators.

The problem of generators is a raging one in the design community, and understandably so. By providing fast solutions they rob professional designers of work. Moreover, they create an illusion that design is an easy job, 1–2 minutes, and the visual is done.

This is the market we’re entering with an online solution that has automatization in it. We’re not choosing easy ways here, nope.

At this point a reasonable question may arise in your head, reader, why on Earth have you created such a tool? My answer is, there is a need for it. I am a designer myself and have been for 20 years. I have designer friends. I have another company full of designers. They have a problem, and the tool I have created has the potential to solve it. But let’s not go off track with the topic.

The strategy

Tapping into the difficult, stigmatized market needs some creative thinking. What can we do to cut the ties with the generators and appeal more to the designers? So that’s where I decided to go with the Stereotype/Antipode strategy I am about to present to you (the intro’s finally done).

This strategy allows a brand owner to push on the uniqueness buttons with clarity, and not at random. Having done a simple analysis you will know exactly what your USP is, and it will be easy for you to come up with a plan to showcase it.

Step one: Analyze the market.

Create a list of every project that is a competitor of yours, or working in the same segment. Get a pen and paper, and get acquainted with them. You need to write down what they all have in common: the design decisions, the positioning, the way they communicate with clients, everything. Then I want you to search for bad reviews. What people dislike about products like these?

Step two: Define the stereotypes.

Create a table with 2 columns. The left one will be for stereotypes. Out of everything that you have learned, write down what stereotypes rule on your market.

For example, in Gingersauce’s case the list went like this:

Step three: Define the antipode.

The harder part is behind us. Now that we know what we should go against, we can define the antipode that works for our brand, for all the stereotypes.

Simple right? But, it’s effective. I recommend brand managers use this method to determine the pressure points to use on the audience. It will be especially effective if you analyze the products that have a similar or the same audience as the one you want to tap into.

If you manage to single out the weaknesses of the competitor brands and make an effort to make things better with your brand, you will know exactly what to advertise.

The outcome

We have just released the major application. The messaging we used in our beta was the one that included everything designers didn’t like: the automatization. Heck, we have the word builder in our logo. From the very first tests, we saw that designers were hesitant to even try the application. We have received a series of comments bashing us, saying that a professional designer should know how to create an awesome brand book manually, and our app is not needed. Important note, they never got to try the app. They were judging us from the way we were communicating with the market.

Before the major update, I used the stereotypes/antipodes branding strategy. We changed the messaging, just a tiny bit, pushing the buttons that have become our USP. And now, we see that more people are willing even to try Gingersauce.

Of course, we still get ‘bad’ reviews. I put bad into quotes because every such comment allows us to work through every touchpoint, and see what button we’re not pushing hard enough.

Now that we have our map of USP created thanks to the strategy described above, we know exactly what stereotype stands behind the comments we receive.

Things are getting better! We are now at 5000 active users, which means we’re moving in the right direction. Hope this strategy will help your business as much as it opened my, and my team’s eyes to what’s going on on the market, and our audience’s minds.