product leadership

How to Build a Better Brand: Branding 101

If you want to build a powerful brand, you have to be deliberate about it.  You can read a million business books about branding from “theorists”, but let’s just sum up all those books into a simple top ten.  Understand your positioning, plan ahead, do your homework, then get to work.  A brand isn’t just a name; it’s about how you are different.  Remember as a brand, you are providing something your competitors are not.

Make sure what you are providing has a demand built-in or you are catering to a market that doesn’t exist.  Branding is about establishing competitive attributes, culture, and precise strategy regarding those attributes.  Once you have that, then you must project it out to your audience.  Here are some silver bullets to consider when building a better brand:

1. Competition

Know your competitors.  Don’t obsess over them, but look at their numbers.  More customers? More eye balls than you?  Know the gaps and understand them.  Find an opportunity and exploit.

2. Strengths

What are the one or two things you are really good at? Validate those with peers and customers.

3. Customers

What do your customers value? Ask them and listen…Remember the Marketing mix checklist (Price, Place, Promotion, and Product).  Your competition is under serving one or more of these values.  Your job is to find out which ones(s).

4.  Match

This is about brand compatibility.  You have to know your customer.  What are their attitudes? Lifestyle? Environment? Media & purchase behavior? Geo-demographic attributes?  Put it in excel, because here is where the valuable data resides.

5. Change

Rearrange your business activities around the customer and revenue generation.  Everything else is a waste of time.

6. Positioning

Keep positioning your brand around the customer.  Ensure you are perceived as such.

7. Communications

Ensure the DNA of your brand is in all your communications. Logo, Mantra, emails, tweets, etc

8. Feedback

Measure through customer feedback!

9.  Reception

Put the right feedback channels in place and adjust accordingly to your core customers and not fringe concierge requests.

10. Practice

Repeat steps 1 – 9 over, and over again until you fine tune your brand.