excellence, then blending in, says David Brier, is not branding. There is a difference
between promoting one's category versus promoting one's brand. And in a crowded
sea of sameness, “you can't shrink your way to greatness” even if precisely that,
is what doomed competitors and businesses are doing. On the contrary, the
smarter ones, the forward-thinking ones, the elites of curiosity, passion
and taste, those intent on defying gravity and rising above the noise
and me-toos, appreciate the importance & impact of foresight,
discipline, intelligence, planning, strategy & execution that
leads to, and results in, brand leadership: Top-of-mind
presence (come time to buy). The hard work that
goes into standing out from the crowd in our
digitally overloaded & socially distracted
universe (as below) begins with value
creation & keeping brand promise
as well as consistently figuring
out how to exceed and/or
pleasantly surprise our
customers with the
usefulness of our
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If you understand the logic and rational behind the information, you'll be able to apply it in new and dynamic ways; its value to you will be exponential and the return measurable...Never follow information blindly. Ask yourself, “How can I use this information?”...and you'll always come out ahead (plus, spot useless information that sounds terrific but has limited, if any, value).
Rule #2: “Being Average” Isn't The Goal. It's The Barrier To Brand Excellence & Leadership
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Look over your brand to find the average, the expected, the same-as-what-everyone-else-offers trap. Recognize it as a steppingstone, not a place to rest your laurels. One by one, eliminate anything average about your brand.
Rule # 3: Life (and Business) is Like Software. Version Upgrades are Available
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“The best way to predict the future is to create it.
” —Peter Drucker. Pick one thing, and discover how it can be made remarkable. Challenge the status quo and dare to be far above what is generally accepted as “average”.
Rule # 4: Become a Cause for Celebration
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Your brand must be a cause for celebration. If it's Nike, it's a cause for celebrating your inner Olympian (or eliminating the appearance of not looking like one). If it's Häagen-Dazs®, it's a cause for celebrating adult indulgence in a pint-sized portion. If it's H&R Block®,it's a cause for celebrating a faster (and, hopefully, higher) tax return. Uncover what your brand is a cause for celebrating, then promote the heck out of it. Become known as “a party waiting to happen” that everybody wants an invitation to.
Rule #5: Never Have a Pitch That Sounds The Same as Everyone Else's
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Branding and marketing are not telepathic. People won't simply “get” your brand's distinction. You have to help them arrive at the level of appreciating what your difference is. Otherwise you'll just add to the noise crowding the market.
Discover your difference and embrace it...make sure it doesn't sound like, or make the same promises as, your competition. Use design to convey it. Use language to broadcast it. Use media choices to demonstrate it.
Rule #6: Your Brand's Voice is The Content. The Channel, The Medium. Don't Confuse Both.
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Unless there is great content to out on your channels, you've accomplished nothing. A brand with something to say to a very targeted audience will be effective, using the potential of that channel to its fullest. Get a message that your customers cannot ignore. If they can say, “So what?” or “Yeah, I expected that. What else you got?” —you haven't nailed it. Get that part of your brand nailed, then use your channels. Ideally, unique ones that align with your brand's promise.”
Rule #7: If Your Customer Can It's Media
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“In general, "media" refers to any means of communication. I find too many clients ignore everyday points of contact with their clients, overlooking them as potential types of media. Review every point of contact online, in person, through mail, and all forms of transmission, and then figure out how to turn each into an opportunity for your brand to make another outstanding impression. If it's not special, it (and you) will be dispensable.. ”
Rule #8: If You Don't Tell Your Customer What The Difference Is, They Will Decide For You
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Customers like to know the differences among brands. Without them, it's pretty simple: Price becomes the difference. Examine your brand with attention on what's different about it that the customer will care about...Done brilliantly, you could end up with a legion of vocal advocates like Apple and Harley Davidson have.
Rule #9: Your Brand's Not About You. It's About The Customer.
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Realize people hire you or purchase your product because of what's in it for them, not how great you are. They only buy your greatness when it supports or fortifies how great they are. The iPod was about how great it would be to surround and immerse oneself in one's own music, not to purchase songs from iTunes. Nike enabled customers to live out their best athletic moments, not buy the latest designs in synthetics and leather.
Rule #10: Never Settle For “Good Enough”. Never Get Complacent With Your Brand. Ever.
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If your brand is easily confused with your competition's, this can be remedied by never settling. The brands you admire, read about and seek to be like didn't. “Dyson’s founder, James Dyson, famously created 5,127 prototypes of his first machine, the vacuum cleaner, in a workshop behind his house, before developing one that he considered worked perfectly, the DC01”. Realize that the only thing leading brands have in common is that they're different. And one of the “common differences” they share is that they didn't settle.
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