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What does your brand stand for?
September 25, 2009 | Lynn Manternach, Ph.D.

Determining exactly what your brand stands for can be challenging, and the stakes are high. It’s a process that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

There are three key qualities of the brand promise:

1.       The brand promise is extremely important to the target consumer.

2.       The brand’s organization is uniquely suited to delivering it.

3.       Competitors are not addressing it.

How do you know what’s extremely important to your consumers? Don’t make assumptions. Ask them. And don’t just ask them what they want. the domain shops . Ask them what they need.

The nuances matter here, because most of us compete in very crowded marketplaces. There are a lot companies that are targeting the same consumer, using the same selling propositions and approaches. A clear understanding of how your product or service can connect with what’s most important to the consumer is critical to your success.

Ask your customers – those who know you best – what they think you’re really good at. They might surprise you. Listen closely to how they talk about your strengths. They’re likely to put it in the context of what’s most important to them… because they know it’s really all about them.

And while you’re talking to your consumers, ask them who they think your primary competitors are. Their answers might surprise you. Ask consumers to tell you how you compare to your top competitors in the areas most critical to your brand. Use this insight to help determine where there is opportunity, and how you can effectively position your brand and brand promise to claim that opportunity.

The goal is to develop a brand promise that is authentic, realistic, manageable, competitive and adds value. And then the really challenging work begins.

Your brand promise should be the focus of your organization. This isn’t about marketing communications. This is about the consumer. And the consumer should be the focus of what your company is doing every day.

Successful companies make sure the entire organization is aligned to deliver on the brand promise. That means everyone within the organization understands what that promise is, and what they need to do every day to make sure the consumer gets the promised brand experience.

It all starts with understanding what your company stands for.

This article originally appeared in the Corridor Business Journal.

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