The Rules of Branding and Brand Building

“Ah ! The rules apply to only big brands. I am a small business. These rules don’t apply to me.”

If you are sitting and thinking that rules of branding do not apply to you as a small business I suggest you radically alter the view. Trust me its not going to do any good to your brand. Branding rules do apply to you or any other business as it is dependent very much on understanding and application of these rules.

Coca – Cola , Nokia, Toyota, Intel, McDonald’s are among the top Brands. All these companies were once small they did not go around asking Brand Gurus if there were any rules for small businesses like they were when they started. Trust me if there were any such rules for small businesses these brands would have never been as big as they are today.

You need to understand they looked for – and found strategies that helped them transform into big brands. They applied these rules consistently and are big today.  If they would have found Branding Rules for small businesses I believe they would have remained small.

Branding Rule No. 1 – Perception Is Reality

Branding takes place in minds of customers not in the real world. And whatever the mind perceives to be true is true. You may object but that’s the way it is: PERCEPTION IS REALITY. Branding is not a battle of who manufactures a better product or services it’s a battle of who can create a better perception. No matter how well your products or services are if the perception in customers mind is not in your favour trust me the brand is no more brand.

Branding Rule No. 2 – Fortune Favors The First

Being first is no guarantee of success, but it gives you the license to establish your self in minds of customers before those competitors start showing up. If you do not exploit this license you will lose that first-mover advantage So its better to be first that to be better.

Branding Rule No. 3 – Create A New Category

Even if you are not first or second or third there is still chance for you to get into the mind first the mantra is – Set Up A New Category ! Your brand will grow as this new category grows but yes you need to promote it aggressively.

Branding Rule No. 4 –  Focus

Your brand becomes stronger with your focus as it can stand for one thing in customers mind “Perception”. Your brand needs to be focuses with strive to be No.1 is something. You need to see the Brand needs to give nine out of 10 things just to be No.1 in one. And remember Focused brands tend to make more money in long run than diversified brands.

Branding Rule No. 5 – Differentiate or Sell Cheap

Its impossible to build a brand without differentiation. If your customers can not perceive any difference between you and your competitor they will buy from who ever is cheap. And if you are not differentiating, you will end up into a price war and this is not going to do any good to you in long run as you may not be able to sustain price advantage.

Branding Rule No. 6 – Use Public Relations For Branding, Advertising for Maintenance

Advertising is what you say about your self, and of course you will tend to say good things. So it’s less credible. Public Relations is what the media says about you and your brand so people tend to believe and trust it more since Media is third party. PR has got credibility that advertising lacks, but yes advertising is important to maintain brand after it’s built.

Branding Rule No. 7 – Find A Great Name

Business is tough if your product is saddled with a forgettable Brand name. Having a bad name is half battle already lost. So work hard to ensure you have a unique name that is simple easy to remember. Coz, your brand is noting more than the name in the long run, because the great ideas you have now can, and will, be copied by your competitors. What remains it differentiate you is the name.

Branding Rule No. 8 – Be Absolutely Consistent

No body likes Schizophrenic brands. That’s why your brand needs to be absolutely consistent in how it behaves and delivers. If it is erratic, customers will be confused and will move to opposite camps.

Branding Rule No 9 – Make Enemies, Not Friends

To build strong brands, you need to supply a reason for its existence and justify why it deserves to live. That’s why you need enemies. When you have powerful enemies to fight, it gives your brand a reason for acceptance by the world.

Branding Rule No 10 – Know When To Launch A Second Brand

Please remember your brand can not stand for everything. When the time comes for your brand to enter into a new category, launch a brand instead of line extension. But yes launch a new brand only when your first brand is a leader in its category. Coz, if you are struggling to increase sales in a category you know well, what are the chances of you doing well in a category you know nothing about?

You know out for these 10 Branding Rules 1 Rule is most important. Can you comment which one?

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