Unleash Your Brand’s Potential: 3 Strategies to Stand Out and Make an Emotional Connection in a Crowded Market

These strategies will help elevate your brand visibility and infuse a sprinkle of magic into the hearts and minds of your target market.


In today’s fiercely competitive software landscape, where everyone is vying for attention, grabbing the spotlight and leaving a lasting impression can feel like an epic challenge. Offering a great product or service alone no longer cuts it. It’s time to channel your inner brand warrior because what truly matters is creating unforgettable brand experiences that strike a chord with your target audience on an emotional level.

As the Senior Vice President of Brand and Corporate Communications at SmartBear, I fully grasp the hurdles businesses face in making their brand shine in a crowded market. To truly stand out and make a difference, you must place your customers and employees at the heart of your strategies and prioritize the holistic experience, forging an emotional and relevant connection from the very first touchpoint throughout their entire journey with your company.

And sometimes, you have to dare to be different. Recently, one of my team members boldly donned a magical unicorn costume. With a vibrant rainbow-colored mane and a flowing, sparkling tail, they pranced around our office, spreading awareness of our upcoming customer conference. It was a playful and attention-grabbing way to ensure our sales and support teams remembered to share the news with our customers. Now, I’m not suggesting going completely off the rails, but a touch of imagination can set you apart. Let’s explore three approaches that may not have crossed your mind before. These strategies will help elevate your brand visibility and infuse a sprinkle of magic into the hearts and minds of your target market.

1. Authentic Storytelling: Building Trust through Transparency

Let’s face it, we’re all drowning in a sea of information. It’s what must be like searching for a specific bug in a million lines of code with each line adding complexity and challenge to the task. As Ozan Varol, the creative mind behind Awaken Your Genius, reminds us, “Your most precious resource isn’t time or money, it’s your attention.” The same holds true for our customers. So, how do you cut through the noise and truly captivate your audience amid their perpetual attention deficits?

Assuming you have done the groundwork of understanding your audience’s priorities, pain points, and challenges, it’s time to get personal. Share the unique journey of how your company came into being, complete with its twists, turns, triumphs, and even mistakes. Highlight the obstacles you encountered, the values that drive your organization, and the passion fueling your mission.

Let your employees take the spotlight and become the face of your social media and other channels. Get your CEO out there as well. Customers love seeing the individuals who make their favorite products or services hum. By showing your human side and demonstrating a deep understanding of your customers’ pain points, you forge an authentic connection that sets you apart from the competition and positions your customers as the heroes of your story.

2. Spark Conversations with Provocative Content

Is your content blending in with the crowd, or does it ignite engaging conversations and challenge the status quo? I once worked alongside a business leader who possessed a knack for making provocative statements. While it occasionally sent a slight panic through the PR maven in me, I realized that, when done judiciously and without causing offense, it could yield remarkable results. His voice still echoes in my head as I craft headlines: “This is BORING! Let’s have a little fun and be provocative!”

Embrace a bold stance on industry topics or simply flip a statement to a question and share thought-provoking insights that defy convention or every day. By presenting fresh perspectives and fueling meaningful discussions, you establish your brand as a thought leader and forge deep connections with like-minded individuals.

3. Collaborate with Unlikely Partners

I once worked for a company whose mission was to connect small businesses in the same local area, despite offering different products or services, yet serving overlapping customers. This concept holds true regardless of your company’s size. Think outside the box and seek partnerships with other brands or influencers that may not be directly related to your industry but share a similar target audience. By collaborating with unexpected partners, you can tap into new networks and reach a wider audience.

Over the years, I have had success challenging my inner brand warrior and embracing the power of authenticity, sparking conversations with provocative content, and collaborating with unlikely partners. These unique strategies can not only boost your brand visibility but also infuse a touch of magic into the hearts and minds of your target market, setting you apart as a true visionary in your industry.


Maureen Plowman is Senior Vice President, Brand and Corporate Communications at SmartBear. She leads the development of the brand’s strategic narrative to continue to elevate its position as a global leader in the software development and visibility space. Previously, she was Vice President of Marketing at Alignable. Maureen has spent over two decades building standout brands during startup, acquisition, and IPO for companies like Constant Contact and IBM, among others. She played a critical role in the acquisition of Meteorix, a Workday implementation partner by IBM, building a customer-centric brand resulting in the organization being named to the prestigious Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies list and recognized as a category leader by industry analysts, leading to the strategic sale to IBM.