A few months ago, I received an email with the following subject line: “You Told Me My Company Name Sucks.” At first, I hesitated to open the message — my frankness might have made me an enemy.
But my curiosity got the best of me, and I’m so glad that it did.
In the email, an entrepreneur thanked me for pointing out that his startup’s name was awful. It was great to see that he had realized the importance of branding and wanted to make a better first impression on his audience.
This experience reaffirmed my belief that branding is one of the most important aspects of any organization. If branding is done well, your audience will fall in love with your brand instantly. On the other hand, if your branding misses the mark, your audience could be turned off forever. So, getting it right the first time is of the utmost importance.
But branding your business is tough.
Brand Rules To Live By
It takes a real effort to get it right. To help you out, I’ve created five brand rules to live by when you’re developing your brand:
Think like your audience.
The process of creating effective branding starts with empathy. Misinterpreting your audience’s desires and thinking patterns will only alienate people, meaning it will be difficult for you to gain traction.
For example, consider the experience of an acquaintance who owns a successful authentic Mexican restaurant. He decided to open an Irish pub down the street, and he couldn’t resist co-promoting the two establishments. So, while you were engaged in a great authentic Mexican dining experience, you encounter flyers and signage prompting you to try out their great Irish pub after dinner.
This is an example of thinking of your customers rather than thinking like them. Empathizing with customers sounds so simple, but it’s not. Take the time to take think like your audience, and your branding will be more effective.
Craft a powerful positioning statement.
Your positioning statement is the single most powerful tool used to define your audience, category, benefits, and the actual soul of your brand. Still, not all positioning statements are created equal. Many statements concentrate on differentiators, and that’s simply not enough.
Your positioning statement needs to declare your reason for existing — why consumers should believe in your brand. Without the “why,” your statement will be uninspiring.
Your positioning statement must hold your organization accountable and keep your brand’s vision in check as you grow. Writing this simple sentence sounds easy, but it can take hours. It’s well worth the time to craft a statement that will last for your brand’s lifetime.
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