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Brand: Six mistakes to avoid  

By Paul Wilson

Getting your brand right can be crucial to success of our business. While making mistakes is inevitable and part of the process, knowing what to watch out for will set you on a clearer path. 

The Brand Agency’s Strategy Director, Hannah Muirhead, offers these insights into successful brand development. The company won Australian creative advertising trade magazine Campaign Brief’s best Agency of the Year for the second consecutive year.   

1. Be brave, be bold

The first thing to do is make people stop and notice your brand from amongst the clutter. Creativity is the antidote. But you have be brave and bold to make sure you are cutting through that clutter.   

You can throw money at the problem and make sure you are everywhere. But bad branding and advertising activities don’t respect the customer or necessarily credit them for being intelligent beings who can make a nuanced analysis of a business.  

And bad branding and advertising just becomes painful for people – and that doesn’t serve the business.  

2. Respect the customer

The big challenge is fighting the attention economy – everyone is time starved. No one has enough attention to give to their kids let alone to a 15-second video that a business wants them to see.

So, it’s really important to make sure that what you're saying has cut through because it is serving customers rather than just interrupting them. 

One of the problems we have as marketers is we get so caught up in our own brands that we forget how really insignificant they are in peoples’ lives.  

3. Keep it simple

Don’t try to jam too many things into developing the essence of the brand. The emphasis is on strategy and sacrifice. You need to strip everything back to create a core essence – what is the fundamental role we fulfil for people?  

One agency I used to work at talked about ‘one-word equity’. It’s a huge asset if we can get your customers to learn one word about your business.

It’s a big win if you consider their attention is constantly immersed in their work, family, sport and whatever else they’re doing in their lives.  

For example, if you’re selling milk, we need to help customers make a favourable decision about your milk.

If they think your milk as reliable, then that’s really a great thing for them to think about your milk – customers know you’re always going to be there, what a great asset for a staple.  

4. Don’t expect overnight results

Brand building takes time and effort so you won't see the powerful emotional priming effect developed overnight.

It's important you undertake sales activation strategies while you're doing your brand building to ensure you’re making money in the short term.  

5. Get the right stakeholders on board

In the development phase of branding, it’s really important to not have too many stakeholders.

Ultimately, you need the key decision maker involved at the beginning. This shouldn't be something that emerges just out of a marketing team which has to take it up to the CEO.

If the executive wants it to happen, they need to be involved from the very beginning.  

6. Point of difference

When considering a point of difference (about a product or service), I think the notion of a unique selling proposition is badly rooted in 1960s marketing theory.

In a modern economy, the truth is there is no such thing as a completely sustainable form of product differentiation. As soon as you create something, it’s going to be created in a factory in China before your patent is even cleared.  

So it’s less about a unique selling proposition and more about what are the things that we want to stand for that are different to our competitors.  

Getting your brand right can be crucial to success of our business.

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