In the branding space, there are two realities.

The first consists of market demographics, media calculations and frightening rules of thumb to guide brand owners in their strategic and spending decisions.

The other reality exists in the space where most brands actually live. That is the true reality, the one you’re probably using right now when you make annualized branding decisions for your company.

It’s surprising that it’s little examined, despite the substantial volume of regularly published reports on brand marketing expectations and recommendations.

Yet we know a few things about the way most brand owners actually make brand decisions. Typically, they don’t know if they are making a wise branding decision until well after their investment has been made. They can actually find themselves waiting for several years before discovering that their branding really hasn’t paid off, hasn’t been effective, or worse, was ill conceived from the start.

A good number of these situations occur because they haven’t carefully calculated the impact they need to achieve a branding success. That often includes a financial dimension that is required to sustain the branding program.

To correct some of the imbalance, here are six sure ways to set your branding on a northward bound trajectory:

  1. Begin with a “Big Idea” that separates your brand from all others. If you don’t have this figured out, don’t start until you do.
  2. Decide if your brand will be most effectively marketed as a corporate, personal, or institutional brand.
  3. Craft the visual look for all of the branding elements down to your invoice and shipping label. Don’t leave any element to chance or someone else who doesn’t know your brand like the back of their hand, literally.
  4. Craft the verbal messaging so that every time you read or hear the brand story you end up saying, “Wow, that’s unique!” And please, don’t use clichés. That’s so yesterday.
  5. Pay a professional to create your brand. Self-promotion is the most expensive form of branding because you, as the brand owner, can’t be objective so you will redo everything at least a dozen times before you like something. This is costly on so many levels.
  6. Be consistent throughout the delivery of your branding.

If you follow these simple steps you can build a brand that is effective and will truly stand out. Once you have completed these steps, you can begin the lifelong process of branding throughout everything you do.