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# 1 Tactic For Your Business In These Volatile Times

October 10, 2008

Strong brand building skills are needed to survive and prosper. It is important to appreciate the value of a brand as a strategic asset and a company’s primary source of competitive advantage.

  • Positioning Your Company

What can you do strategically right now when the economy is hurting and you find yourself with some free time? You can position your company during these volatile times by making certain that your company and store brand uniqueness encourages assurance and trust.

  • Brand Recognition

What is brand recognition? “Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service, both directly relating to its use, and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary. A brand is a symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to a company, product or service.” as defined by wikipedia.

  • Unique Story

What is the idea that is vital to this brand and how should customers experience it? Every brand has a distinctive story and creates a unique experience. Both are built over time through clear-cut and reliable communication at every contact point – from business cards to websites to advertisements. Creating successful brands and brand communication requires commitment. That is why this is a perfect time to evaluate your brand and determine what steps you can take to develop it further.

  • Differentiate

This is the time for you to differentiate your business with all other competitors. Once you create a unique lifestyle positioning you will be able to establish your business as the leading source for outdoor casual furniture merchandise. A dedicated brand will stand out, and help consumers choose among competitors. This will allow you to justify premium pricing, help you create customer loyalty as well as expand your business.

  • Competitive Advantage

"A company’s brand is the primary source of its competitive advantage and a valuable strategic asset," said Aaker, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, who is generally regarded as the world’s leading academic authority on branding strategy. "Yet, too often, the brand message to customers is weak, confused, irrelevant, or, worst of all, indistinguishable from competitor offerings.”

  • Challenge to be Distinct

"The challenge for all brands is that they have a distinct, clear image that matters to customers and truly differentiates them from the rest." In Aaker’s book, Building Strong Brands, he states, “The key step is to create a broad brand vision or identity that recognizes a brand as something greater than a set of attributes that can be imitated or surpassed.  A company should consider its brand not just as a product or service, but also as an organization, a person and a symbol. The brand-as-organization perspective focuses on the associations of the company’s people, culture, programs and values — such as making a priority of innovation, a quality- or customer-focus, or leadership. Such organization associations are more endearing and more resistant to imitation by competitors than are product attributes. "It is much easier to copy a product," said Aaker, "than to duplicate an organization with unique values, people and programs."

  • Start Now

Utilize the time that you find yourself with right now and instead of focusing on the negative economy focus on the positive side of your business, your brand.

These are my outside views… write a comment and tell me how you differentiate your brand? Marcia Blake