I cannot overstate the importance in this topic to a company. Over many, many years in the marketing and branding world, too often we find ourselves providing education on this topic to those in leadership positions who should understand the value of a brand and what it represents.

In working with product and service companies both in the B2C and B2B worlds, luxury or commodities, the overarching process is the same. Building a brand has many factors to consider such as; the objectives, target audience, vision for the company, mission, customer insights and competitive landscape. Armed with a clear foundation of the business, insuring operations can deliver on the brand promise, can the sales team explain the meaning of the brand, will the market accept it, and where does it fit among the competition?

These factors are all important to study, understand and align before going into any creative development of visuals and messaging such as the brand name, positioning and creative taglines. We have witnessed many small businesses rush with excitement and enthusiasm into creative process only to waste thousands of dollars of time and talent without knowing which direction to go.

Building a brand platform has to come first and then vetting the message and creative through many research methodologies gives you a glimpse into acceptance and viability. Going with your gut is a risky endeavor but investing in research refines and improves your probability of success. I’m not suggesting every situation is the same, but rather, we do need those entrepreneurs to take risk and create products and services where they see a void.

Start up’s are infants finding themselves, and older established small to medium sized companies who are successful found a market. These companies find themselves at a critical stage. How do they adapt to a changing market and adjust? That is a very tough process. Those that kick the can down the road will find themselves obsolete. Those willing to innovate and reinvest in branding typically survive and thrive.

Building a brand is the creation of something that must live on and thrive without those leading it today. We must view it as something we are simply caring for during our time in charge of it and we seek to turn it over to others one day.

Having worked with hundreds of business leaders running small, medium and large sized companies the ones who are successful view the brand as a living thing and what they do is monitor the environmental factors that impact it. Those watching closely and innovate while those who don’t won’t survive.