Lead, Follow or Brand

Great brands continue to thrive for years after their introductions. Others don’t. The great ones control their categories. They set examples for others to try and mimic.

The instant an advertiser begins the brand development process, they inherit the leadership position—guaranteed.

Brands like Hallmark, Maytag and GE are emblematic of great brands. Woolworth, Mademoiselle and Oldsmobile represent the fallen. So why are there great, enduring brands and deceased brands? We believe it is brand leadership.

Granted, there are other factors like brand management, operational efficiencies and market gyrations that can affect long-term performance, but the starting point for almost every great brand is the leadership position taken at inception or assumed at some later point of enlightenment. The instant an advertiser begins the brand development process, they inherit the leadership position—guaranteed.

How’s that you ask? Review the definition of a brand: Evidence of distinction. Once successfully differentiated, through brand development and branding, they’ve separated themselves from their competitors and thus, assumed a leadership role.

What’s the importance of brand leadership? It’s the added-value good brand positioning offers. It also allows consumers to adopt the brand as their own and allows for better brand management, internal brand adoption and crystal clear communication.

What’s the downside of brand leadership? Well, living up to your claim is one. Having the guts to advertise like a leader, not a follower is another. Having the vision to the future is mandatory. But, the benefits far outweigh the downside.

OK, how do we go about claiming a leadership position? Start with a good discovery session. Ours works like magic, looking inside and finding the essence of the advertiser’s brand. It’s always there. Or, at least the seeds are there. Here’s how it works:

The proprietary process starts with fact finding and through a series of stages extrapolates potential truths until we have a prioritized list of three to five absolutely unique and deliverable selling points about our client’s company. From this, we can establish the foundation for a proprietary brand franchise, unique branding concept and a leadership position they are capable of controlling.

And although this process was simplified for the sake of space, don’t underestimate the power of brand discovery—the deeper you dig and the more thorough the analysis, the more obvious the essence of the brand and its leadership capabilities will become. And the easier it will be to assume a long-term brand leadership position.