Lots of advice for building a brand recommends that brand managers focus on a brand’s weaknesses, and then improve upon them. Sadly, the results of this practice are often more of the same – a chronic focus on a brand’s weaknesses…while its strengths go unrecognized and undeveloped.
At How to Build a Brand, our philosophy is different. We believe that if every brand focusses on weaknesses, and then brings those weaknesses up-to-par, then every brand will resemble all the other brands – obliterating all sense of USPs (Unique Selling Points).
Instead, if every brand focusses on developing its own strengths, each brand will shine with exceptional brilliance. Let’s talk about how your brand can focus on (and improve upon) its strengths for building a brand.
Identify and Invest in Strengths, for Building a Brand
As a general rule, How to Build a Brand recommend that brand owners and managers avoid talking about what hasn’t happened, and instead replace that conversation with one about what can (and will) happen when motivation is channelled toward building a brand. Think about what you’re already good at. Then decide how you can make that (or those things) even better. Here are some steps that will help your brand to accomplish this:
- Build upon existing strengths, by expanding to others: If your product or service itself is your brand’s USP, and members of your target audience recognise this (and sales are good), there is no need for your marketing communications to focus on product/service benefits. By now, this is old news – a success, no less, but still old news. Instead, build upon that by communicating your brand’s ability to sponsor success. Look what your brand has done. Look how effective your branding has been. Take some credit for the success of your products and/or services, and use what you have done as proof that your brand is a solid investment.
- If your brand’s people are highly competitive, foster that for success: Competitive teams (and individuals) look forward to upcoming challenges and are always primed for bettering themselves. If you’ve determined that your brand is gifted with highly competitive salespeople, then monopolise on that. Reset goals regularly, with the understanding by all that this practice will foster betterment of individuals and the brand. Ensure that you provide all the training, support, and rewards necessary for success.
- Use in-place adaptation skills for building a brand: If past brand performance has proven that your brand is quick to respond and adapt, then we would suggest adopting a spirit of evolution, for the longevity of your brand. Not every brand is ‘good’ at evolving. Stay on the cusp of new industry developments. Study your market, so that you can predict upcoming news and be the first [of your competitors] to respond (i.e. offer solutions, new products, or relevant industry news). In other words, use your brand’s supple, responsive nature to be the first one out of every gate.
- If your brand is poplar in niches, expand availability: If people go out of their way to find your brand, then work to make it more accessible…and your client list will organically expand. Then, not only will your product be a brand strength, so will its availability. We wouldn’t recommend marketing your brand indiscriminately, but rather, after conducting the research necessary for determining which new markets will be the most receptive.
- Build individuals’ strengths, for brand strength: Why did you hire Jane? What has John done to build your brand? No matter if an employee has exemplary communication, organization, IT, or team-building skills, identify those skills and then offer the instruction necessary for cultivating those skills. Use this as an alternative to ‘fixing’ people.
- If your brand awareness is high, build upon it: If your brand name is a household name, you might believe that building visibility should no longer be of concern to you. To the contrary, determine the factors that have contributed to that visibility and then use them to further increase visibility. In which niches could you expand? What new communications can you implement in the markets where your brand is most present? How can you use your brand awareness to build brand partnerships?
No brand has just one strength. Your brand has a collection of strengths, all of which can be built upon and used as gateways to the discovery of other strengths. Start with one or two, and slowly build until all of your brand’s strengths are as strong as they can be…and then continue to grow, if that’s the right move for your brand.
Remember that your brand’s strengths (your USPs) are unique, as they are. However, as you develop and expand up them, they will become even more unique…and untouchable by your competitors. Others may try to imitate them, but will likely default to your brand, the original.
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