Start Differentiating

By Jamie Warren

Everybody has a brand, whether they know it or not. Even you.

But when your brand hasn’t been outlined, when it hasn’t been differentiated, how do you start? What do you do to take those initial – but crucial – steps in creating your brand?

Luckily, we do this every day at Forte, so we’re going to share with you three tips to get going on creating your brand:

1. Be honest about who you are.  Take a cold, hard look at your company and current “brand” as it stands in the marketplace as of RIGHT NOW. Who are you? How do your customers or potential customers view you? How do your employees view the company?

You might have to face some ugly truths, but starting with a realistic picture of your company and brand will give you that all-important jumping off point. As the old saying goes, “you can’t manage it if you don’t measure it.” Take a measure of where you are today to be able to go forward with where you want to be tomorrow.

2. Dream a bit. Now is the time to make choices and goals for your company and brand. What do you WANT to be? How do you want customers and potential customers to see you? How do you want your employees to see you? What problems will you solve for your customers?

Being aspirational – while maintaining a bit of realism – can do wonders for your quest for a better brand. Look at other companies whose brands you admire. What are they doing that you like? Can you deliver as they do? Can you deliver something new? Take an ambitious  look at your brand and prioritize the goals.

3. Articulate that promise. Having goals is great, but creating the steps to reach those goals is what sets great companies – and brands – apart. Look at your aspirations as a company. Now, what can you realistically strive for to elevate your brand?

There are the more tangible parts of a brand – like your logo and tagline – but there are also the more complex parts. What are your company’s values? How do you want to be perceived in the marketplace? What do you stand for or against?  Working toward your aspirations can build your ideas into your brand.

At Forte, we understand that being truly objective about your company and brand can be difficult. That’s where we come in. We walk you through the steps above and create real, tangible steps that, once implemented, create a compelling story inside and outside your company.

Make a promise to your company, your customers and your employees to differentiate yourself.

Jamie Warren is President of The Forte Marketing Group, a branding agency in Birmingham, Alabama.