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How to Build a Brand

How to Build a BrandAssuming that you have deep pockets, a talented staff, and a lot of patience, growing a recognized brand isn’t difficult…spend heavily across all mediums with consistent, creative, on message advertising while simultaneously conducting aggressive public relations and social media campaigns. Avoid controversy, maintain a high likeability factor, consistently and proactively engage your customers, be a business of character that engenders trust and confidence with your target market(s), produce a quality product or service at a competitive price point, and provide great customer service. The preceding description paints the perfect illustration of why branding is one of my favorite topics…It is complex. Unless you are a very large enterprise it is unlikely that you have the time, money, staffing, or external professional relationships to execute a brand management strategy such as the one outlined above. In today’s post I’ll share 8 tips for common sense branding that entities of any size can put into practice…

So what’s the best way to build a brand if you’re not a Fortune 500 company? Be very, very smart. Unfortunately I’m not kidding – if your business isn’t one of the deep pocketed companies capable of executing a strategy like the one mentioned above, then you must understand how to cost effectively appropriate and deploy your resources & talent in a manner that still produces results. The simple truth of the matter is that building brand equity with limited resources is one of the most difficult things to accomplish in the business world.

The following 8 items constitute the basic tenants of branding, which if incorporated into your brand management strategy will help build a solid brand regardless of the size of your company or your ad budget:

1. Treat your brand as an asset not an afterthought: If building brand equity is not a key strategic focus for your executive team don’t be surprised if your brand remains in stealth mode. If branding is not someone’s full-time responsibility then your brand will suffer from the part-time results that the part-time efforts yield.

2. Keep your word: Living up to expectations (brand promise) is critical if you want to keep your brand from going into free-fall. If you can only do one thing is business, I would strongly suggest that it be to keep your commitments and honor your promises. In absence of any other action this will keep your brand on solid footing, and in combination with the other items mentioned here will propel your brand equity with maximum velocity.

3. Never sacrifice quality: Your products, services, leadership, management, culture, customer service, communication, etc. must all reflect high standards of quality. Quality equals value in the eyes of the consumer, and as a result often corresponds into justifying price premiums.

4. Focus on the customer: Make sure you understand the needs and desires of you customers/clients and do everything possible to satisfy them. If customer centricity is nothing more than a buzzword, and not a core value reflected in your business practices, creating growth in brand equity will be a challenge. Put the customer first in all decisions and good things will happen.

5. Understand the competition: Creating competitive separation is a must. Without strong and clearly recognized competitive value propositions you will be forced into the commodity market of competing on price points alone.

6.  Broadcast vs. Social: It is also critical to understand the difference between broadcast and social media.  The world has changed, and if you haven’t adjusted your messaging, positioning, communications, and engagement strategies accordingly, your brand will suffer. If you don’t have a big advertising budget, and even if you do, social media provides a significant opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations and interactions with your customers that broadcast media simply cannot produce. If you don’t have the luxury of being able to spend across mediums, select the medium that will give the most frequency, reach, viral shelf-life & engagement and build from there. Put simply, if you’re going to spend your time and money do it where you get the biggest bang for the buck.

7. Be consistent: Consistency in all things throughout the value chain is critical. Continuity should flow from values to vision, mission to strategy, and objectives to tactics to process. Mixed messaging or practices has killed many a brand.

8. Innovate: Your brand will have at best a limited shelf life if a culture of innovation doesn’t pervade your business. Even category dominant brands can fall into rapid decline as obsolescence sets in. Don’t fall into the trap of resting on laurels and assuming that a great product or niche market will endure the test of time without constant attention to the shifting needs of a fluid marketplace.

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    Dave Macky

    April 22, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Another great post Mike. Solid advice that anyone interested in marketing and branding should pay attention to.


      April 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm

      Thanks Dave…i appreciate the kind words and thanks for commenting.

    Amadou M. Sall

    April 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Awesome post, Mike! Crystal-clear and highly readable.

    Gerry Martin

    April 24, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Thanks for this excellent post Mike – great common sense advice.

    Dave Elan

    April 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Enjoyed this post Mike. I always appreciate the quality information you provide. Keep up the good work.

    Aaron Wallace

    April 29, 2010 at 3:40 am

    Great post Mike – I always appreciate your candor and direct approach to whatever topic you choose to address. Keep up the great work.

    Branding Design

    July 22, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Hey Mike,
    You have a excellent post. I always appreciate the quality information you provide.thank alot


      July 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks for the comments and the kind words – they are truly appreciated.


    July 26, 2010 at 6:33 am

    It's really amazingly well written article here. It's interesting to read about build a brand. I liked your post. Keep posting interesting matters here.Thanks for the update.


    vienda m.

    July 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Love this! So true and so important! 🙂

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