4 Essential Values for Building Brand Excellence

When branding a small business or start-up, the strategy and values are very much the same as branding for a larger entity. The process may differ in that entrepreneurs often have the benefit of being nimble. This is an area where it helps to have one to a few decision makers. The following are what I believe to be the top 4 Essential Values for Brand Excellence:

1. AUTHENTICITY

Have you heard this so many times that you are a bit numb to the idea? How about if we substituted the word Honesty for Authenticity? Yes, there we go. There is simply no faking brand honesty. Your audience can see right through any dishonest brand communications. If they don’t initially, and they find out later that you were not honest - or authentic - you will lose trust and trust is very hard to gain back. It’s critical to know who you are and to communicate honestly.

2. EMPATHY

In order to effectively market to your customer, it is critical to understand them. How do they feel, what do they need? How can your product or service help them? Moreover, how can you talk about or show your product in a way in which they can understand and relate to it? Bernadette Jiwa talks eloquently about “Difference Marketing” and “Creating A Difference” in her small but mighty book, Difference. As she points out, “Marketing is, and has always been, a transfer of emotion.” This book is a game-changer.

3. ESSENTIALISM

Essentialism is the principal of knowing we can’t, in fact, do it all. Trade-offs are a fact of life and, as a result, minimizing your priorities and strategies is critical to success. The idea is to maximize your impact to great effect in key areas, rather than disperse your resources for minimal effect in many areas.  Author Greg McKeown presents a most excellent picture of what it means to be an “Essentialist” in a must read for any entrepreneur, Essentialism.

4. DISCIPLINE

Whether it’s standing by your brand values, working strictly within your established visual identity, or simply saying no when opportunities are not the right fit for you, discipline is tough, but critical. In a world of possibilities, discipline feeds essentialism and pays dividends in the form on-point communications and an increased bottom line. Give them enough, but never give them too much. Too many choices can often be paralyzing for your audience.

By: Liz Watson, Founder & Director of LW Design Group