10 Simple Rules for Building a Brand Leader

Branding is an ongoing process that cannot be achieved in an afternoon spent reviewing your logo, corporate colors and website design. Rather, we all know that a successful brand is built from a multitude of coherent decisions that grow out of one powerful corporate and brand strategy.

If owning and managing a leading brand is a goal of yours, here are 10 simple rules for how to become—well—a brand leader:

1. Share all of your best ideas with everyone. Don’t hold back! People respond generously to the most generous people so you will be rewarded by your open-sharing policy.

2. Be prepared for heavy competition, but only lightly change strategy to adjust to a new reality and do it with so much grace that everyone will think you planned it that way.

3. Be a better listener than a talker! In fact, be more interested in learning about your customer’s needs than explaining your services. Remember, people are interested in telling their story, not necessarily listening to yours—at least not until they’ve shared theirs first.

4. Realize that you need to be a team of one. Be confident and proactive.

5. Use research, but trust your instincts as they’ll usually be right, if you have been in your industry for some time.

6. As a very close friend recently told me, “Be better each day so you can help others do better.” This is a baseline way to conduct your life, and it will never let you down professionally—or personally, for that matter.

7. Pursue your dreams and big ideas. Don’t let them sit on a shelf year after year. Try them out and see if you can make something of them. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

8. Try and be the industry imaginer. Steve Jobs was always out in front of his competition and customers, offering something new and different. This capacity for coming out with something new continues to serve Apple well today.

Tom Marin is the managing partner of MarketCues.com and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

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