News + Notes on Branding

Getting Smart About Your Business's Brand (part 1)

How do you know if your company's reputation is helping or hurting you? Get smart about your brand.

Know what your brand is and what it isn't. Your brand is part identity (how you look as a company); part personality (the way it feels when people interact with you); part promise (what you tell people you'll do for them); and part reputation (what people say about you when you're not there, and how much you live up to your promise). Think of it as the whole experience that customers and potential customers face when dealing with your company. It's that set of experiences that they use to tell your company apart from others. Part of that you control, and part you don't. The best you can do is try to figure out where you stand, and figure out a way to improve it within your budget.

Example: Before they were acquired by Cadbury Schweppes' Snapple Beverage Group, Nantucket Nectars started out as two guys with a story. They needed to set themselves apart from other beverages on the shelf, but without much money that's hard to do. Their story about how they started, their promise about giving back to the local economy and having natural, good-tasting product helped them catch a natural-foods trend that catapulted their company to over $30 million in sales. The key was that they were ahead of the natural-foods trend, and that helped them stand out when they used traditional and guerilla marketing tactics.

So, how can you make your brand stand out?

Keep reading -> Part 2

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