So you make your way onto your flight and locate your seat. It’s at this point you feel you’re coming down with a cold – your sinuses are beginning to give you problems. Like most people, you stop the flight attendant and ask for a Kleenex, right? Well, I’m sure that’s what the maker of this brand would prefer.

Kleenex has achieved what other brands could only dream about; it’s called top-of-mind awareness. The strength of the brand is such that the actual product and name are interchangeable. Kleenex has become the gold-standard for their particular industry.  What if you’re searching for something online – Google it, right? There was a time when it was quite common to hear folks in the office say, “Hey, Xerox this for me” rather than asking to have a copy made.

What about your business? Are you building strong brand recognition - a name that will carry you to a place where you become a staple in the mind of consumers?

Though brand building can be quite involved, let’s simplify things a bit and look at three foundational concepts:

Rein It In
As you seek to build your brand, it is important to establish focus for your communications. If this were politics, I’d be telling you to stay on message and not meander. It’s frustrating for me to see small businesses waste money on shotgun techniques – blasting out a load of disjointed ads and marketing pieces, in hopes of landing a couple of new patrons. For one crowd, you put on a mask – for another audience, you don a new persona; don’t do that. Rein it in and stay true to your core identity. Customers are far more loyal in the long run when a brand is genuine and consistent.

Fake It Until You Make It
If you’re reading this, there’s a strong possibility that your brand hasn’t “arrived” yet.  In fact, you may be competing with far larger establishments. When you are tasked with building the strength of your brand, there’s something to be said about “looking the part.” In other words, your communications should exude confidence and dominance (not arrogance). Your marketing content should be on par with the national guys as well as the top local player.

Stay With It
“I’ll try advertising for a week or two.” This is one of the most counterproductive ideas for brand building. Top-of-mind awareness can never be established by running a couple of ads (though, you may nab a handful of customers). The sad truth is some small business owners don’t see the big picture – a long-term branding strategy. So when the phone doesn’t ring off the hook for a mere five day’s worth of advertising, they throw in the towel and believe that word-of-mouth is the only viable way forward. Be prepared to stick to a deliberate, long-term marketing plan. You don’t have to, necessarily, “go big” on the budget, but it’s imperative that you do go the distance.

Walter Dailey is a proven creative strategist. He’s the lead consultant and executive producer for Dailey Sound Vector, a creative services organization that specializes in jingles, radio ads and marketing campaign development for small and mid-sized businesses.  Ask Walter your questions at walter@dsvmedia.com