How To Make Your Brand Stand Out

Branding: 5 Questions to Make a Lasting Impression

Branding matters! People, namely your prospects, customers and the public, must be able to distinguish your offering without thinking about it from a sea of competitive products and other messages vying for their attention.

Does your brand stand out? Whether it’s your logo, company colors, voice, look and feel, use of language, sounds or other attributes – does it make a strong impression?

Here are five questions every marketer must answer to ensure that their brand makes a lasting impression. (It’s useful to start with these questions about your brand’s DNA.)

  1. What’s in your name? This is the Romeo approach to branding. What attributes do your customers associate with your name and/or offering? Are their connotations positive or negative? Are there special stories associated with your product, history or founders that create emotional brand attachments? Can you incorporate these associations into your brand? Remember, when it comes to brands, a rose by any other name may not smell as sweet.
  2. What makes your company, product and/or offering unique? What sets your brand apart and makes it special? Which of your offering’s attributes is unmatched relative to its’ competitive set?  What makes this element important to your core audience? How can you leverage this advantage to enhance your brand?
  3. How do you define your brand’s niche? How do you characterize your offering’s category? While you may want your offering to dominate your category, the classification must be consistent with how your competitors and consumers view the market, not just an internal corporate distinction. From a branding perspective, consider how this translates to media since you’ll need channels to broadcast your brand messages.
  4. What facts about your brand give your customer proof? This is show and tell marketing. It’s where you must demonstrate to prospects and customers that their glass slipper fits your brand. In other words, your firm delivers what it says it does.  Understand consumers don’t trust push marketing so you have to give them a reason to believe. This is most effective when it’s based on shared experiences. Social media can be every effective in providing support through photographs, videos and customer reviews.
  5. What’s your brand essence in plain language? As Denzel Washington says in Philadelphia, “Now, explain it to me like I’m a four-year-old.” Make your brand easy-to-understand in simple words. While the use of three words for a tagline has become somewhat of a cliché, it’s a useful way to streamline and focus your brand. (Hat tip to Chris Brogan.) Skip the $5 options, select three short, easy-to-understand words to crystallize your brand’s essence. Even better, ask a cross section of employees, customers, and the public for three words representing your business. Assess their responses to determine what surprises you and where there are issues that need to be fixed.

To ensure that your brand creates a lasting impression, you must be able to distinguish it from your competitive set in a way that’s meaningful and memorable to your customers. Further, it must exist across a range of attributes.

Are there any other elements or questions that you’d add to this list to help develop a brand and make it stand out? If so, what are they?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Here are some related articles:

  1. 30 Branding definitions
  2. Branding –More than a logo
  3. How to do branding without a budget.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loop_oh/5454534736/
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  • http://www.bamsmallbizconsulting.com Nikolas Allen

    Heidi,
    This list covers the essential points to consider when determining your brand. Another question I like to ask my clients is:

    “What emotions are connected to your offering?”

    This really gets them thinking about all the juicy stuff – both positive and negative – that people typically feel when dealing with a product or service in their category. This offers a chance to zero in on the positives, minimize the negatives and create a brand that resonates on an emotional level, which forges a deeper connection with their audience. Thanks for the post!

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Nikolas — I totally agree with you regarding the emotional connection. The emotional connection to start with your brand’s DNA (Check here: http://heidicohen.com/define-your-brand/). Your brand’s emotional content is integrated into your brand’s name and essence. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNSQEPmk8u0 Diane Baranello

    Heidi, these 5 questions are great … and Nikolas’ question tying emotion to brand … these are all facets when polishing a brand that stands out. I especially like expressing your brand with simplicity and clarity. I would add … What is your promise of value? What is it you deliver that is noteworthy, remarkable, uncommon? Why does that matter? Thank you for the post.

    • http://riversidemarketingstrategies.com/ Heidi Cohen

      Diane–I couldn’t agree with you more when it comes to expressing your brand simply. This is why I suggest Chris Brogan’s approach to using three words. This forces marketers to reduce their brand to its core unique attributes. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen