Strong brands set themselves apart from competitors
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We have vivid impressions of strong brands.
They exist in our hearts and minds as powerful images, colors, experiences, feelings, memories and associations. Some of these impressions were formed a long time ago. Some are new. Most are indelible.
In fact, we rarely confuse strong brands with their competitors. Strong brands stand apart from their peers and from the clutter of brands in other categories. Exactly how do they achieve it?
It starts with brand definition. Strong brands have compelling identities that (1) reflect reality; (2) carve out a special place on the competitive landscape; and (3) actively shape our attitudes and perceptions .
Elements of identity include the brand name and a composite of ideas, themes, messages, graphics, colors, sounds, style and tone of voice -- rich, contextual elements that provide building blocks for marketing, messaging, website design and online communications. These elements are also transformed into retail design and architecture, advertising, public relations and other communications.
Effectively expressing its identity, a strong brand has the power to change the competitive landscape and reposition competitors.
Just by being new, you look fresher, more relevant, different and better while competitors look the same. You add qualities and motivations that dramatically expand brand perceptions and drive your business while competitors remain passive and reflect the status quo.
Just by rethinking your category and how you are seen and perceived as a major player, you can be more innovative, more creative, more involving, more inspiring and more desirable than any of your competitors.
The message for brand owners is simple: brand identity must be competitively and comprehensively developed.
If you think it's something that only creative people have to worry about, think again. It's critical. It's about your business. It's about everything that impacts how you are understood, how you shape expectations, and how you compete. And if you think success can be achieved just the way you are, you may want to think again.
Strong brands do not have weak identities.