Correct Sequencing Can Lead to a Strong, Integrated Brand

Entrepreneurs possess two characteristics that run counter to successful branding of their creations, whether business, product, service or event.

Those characteristics are possessiveness and impatience. Together they may be valuable in creating energy to get a new business rolling, but they can also sabotage a fledgling brand before it takes wing.

Their thinking goes, "I know more about this new offering than anyone, so who better to brand it?" Besides, they don't want to take the time to explain all the nuances of their baby - probably because they won't admit they don't know the nuances yet. They'll get to them in time. Ready, fire, aim is their modus operandi.

Early in development, many will want to name their product or company. Using their own perspective only, they will think up and fall in love with a name. If it's available, they quickly trademark or incorporate it and then move on to getting financing.

Same thing happens when one proudly presents a logo their 14-year-old daughter designed, and won't give it up even if it won't work in half the needed applications. NIH and ego combine to hinder good brand building. But these are just the first and most obvious problems.

Correct sequencing saves time and money The order in which many entrepreneurs tackle the elements of branding can cause major brand weakness, not to mention cause them to waste time and money getting to market, and to profitability.

They are out of sequence. Many have picked a name and registered it even before they've written a mission statement. They've written a tagline before they've identified target markets. They've developed a brand story after all the obvious elements are created and in use. And they'll not have provided writers and designers with a brand platform on which the creative structure is to be solidly and consistently built.

First thing first should be the rule There is a sequence to developing a brand, just as there is to developing the business itself. When you get things out of sequence you find you need to start over which is expensive and time-consuming, or even worse, you live with a brand with weak elements that become more burdensome as time goes by.

I suggest anyone starting a business or introducing a new product follow the simple process outlined below. It looks long, involved and too detailed for your typical entrepreneur, but it's just putting the right foot forward, then the left foot and so on until an integrated and unique brand emerges. Here gores:

Write your vision statement
Write your mission statement
Describe the business model you are planning to implement
Write down the goals of the business or product
Identify the market segments you will serve
Identify the product category in which you will compete
Identify and assess your major competitors
Crystallize your brand promise
Identify and develop your differentiator (Unique Value Proposition)
If a new product for an existing company, identify how the new product fits
Write your brand platform (Essentially info presented above) Append your brand platform to your strategic plan
At this point, you may want to consider bringing in a branding consultant to help you fashion the branding platform. He or she should be able to translate and integrate the vision, mission, goals, business model, and the information concerning markets, product categories and competition into a brand platform.

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