The marketplace has given us the message – companies and individuals that invest effectively in developing their brands are more likely to win over those that don’t.

Think of a brand as a visual, emotional and cultural image that surrounds an organization and its products and services. In a competitive marketplace in which products and services are increasingly similar to consumers, brand influences their perceptions, purchasing decisions and loyalty. Branding is what makes us want Reebok on our feet, Disneyland for vacation and Haagen Daz in our freezer.

Not only can investing in a brand provide opportunities to attract customers, your brand equity also can help to retain them in the face of adversity. Whether a company is striving for a regional, national or international reputation, its leaders must decide how best to position its brand in the market. Next comes a formulated campaign to extend and reinforce your brand’s image. Name, slogan, communications materials and related revenue-raising spin-offs must work together to highlight one concept that connotes your brand. Name recognition is only one aspect of many indicators that positively impact brand equity. Here are nine additional indicators found to positively impact brand equity:

1. Product differentiation.
Find a niche, a unique place among competitors. In the search for market share and profitability, individuals that understand their competition and take a unique position among them, do better than those that understand the customer alone.

2. Positive positioning.
You must distinguish yourself by highlighting your brand’s most coveted, specific benefits. Winning awards from trade association, the Chamber of Commerce, or other reputable sources is a good way to increase a brand’s positive perception.

3. Positive associations.
Strong brands typically represent one specific, positive benefit. A company or individual must decide what strong attribute to hang its hat on. Then the company or individual needs to deliver a unified message with positive associations.

4. Coordinated communications materials.
Organizations and individuals need to be consistent in the message that their brand name, logo and slogan convey in carrying out their brand development mission.

5. Brand stewardship.
Brands do well if they are championed by the image of a friendly and authoritative figure, for example the company CEO, a personality spokesperson or a character, like the Energizer Bunny.

6. Quality reinforcement.
The market can’t always easily distinguish the quality of one product versus another. However, in order to develop its brand, a company or individual must ensure that it’s perceived as being of high quality.

7. Reinforcement of perceived value.
The marketplace’s perception of a product or service’s value may dictate a brand’s value more than product itself. Reinforcing the value of a product or service -as customers interpret it – is important to a brand’s image.

8. Brand extensions.
Many successful companies and individuals develop spin-off brand extensions that generate revenue streams from a related anchor or product. A company or individual with a successful newsletter can increase its profit margin with spin-offs.

9. Memorable slogan.
No integrated identity campaign is complete without a slogan.

Best of luck in communicating your message to your prospects and customers. Please share your successes and challenges regarding your brands with others…perhaps we can grow better by sharing.

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