Starting from the idea that in the last few years, we have witnessed a growing number of small companies that are starting to realise that branding is not the reward for success but the reason why strong brands become strong brands in the first place, The Business Times of Singapore is publishing an interesting list of 10 fundamental rules of branding, nothing new, but still interesting:
1 Perception is the truth
The battlefield of branding is in the minds of the customers. And as far as customers are concerned, perception is the truth, regardless of the facts.
2 Fortune favours the first
Many experts argue that the first mover advantage is a fallacy as there have been many first movers who failed. Being first only gives you the opportunity to lodge your brand in customers’ minds first. Fail to exploit that advantage and your competitors can, and will, catch up.
3 If you are not first, move the battlefield
If you are not first in the market, then you might need to shift the battlefield by creating a new category in which they can be first.
4 Keep a clear focus
If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing. Focused brands concentrate on owning one thing in the mind instead of creating line extensions indiscriminately.
5 Differentiate or sell cheap
In the absence of any perceived difference between products, customers will focus on the price.
6 Use PR for brand building, advertising for maintenance
Many companies make the mistake of using advertising to launch their brands. As advertising is a self-declaration, it has near-zero credibility in the eyes of consumers. Public relations, however, involves what others say about you, and hence carries with it the weight of third party endorsement.
7 Find a great name
In the long term, the name of your products is what separates you from your competitors as your unique ideas and concepts can be copied. To ensure greater brand recall, a short, unique and memorable name should be adopted.
8 Be absolutely consistent
Successful branding requires unwavering consistency
9 Find an enemy
To have credibility, you need to have an enemy. What would Superman be without Lex Luthor? Competition between brands creates excitement in the media and with the customer base, thus helping the category grow.
10 You may need a second brand
Your brand cannot stand for everything, thus necessitating the launch of a second brand in order to enter a new category. It is advisable, however, to launch a new brand only when your existing one is a dominant player in its category. If you struggle to increase sales in a category you know well, what are the chances of you doing well in a category you know nothing about?
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