The sign read "We proudly brew Starbucks Coffee." Suddenly, the thought of eating in a cafeteria seemed a bit more, shall I say... palatable. I wasn't even planning on drinking coffee (it was too late in the afternoon for me), but seeing that sign was comforting.

As the owner of this cafeteria knows, linking your brand to another product, service, place or even person can be an excellent way to reinforce or augment your brand attributes.

We are living in a world where everyone, and every company, is becoming more specialized. Avoiding becoming a commodity requires that you be differentiated from your competitors. Differentiation means being known for something, not a hundred things.

Creating brand alliances enables you to continue to benefit from the one thing you do best while also benefiting from the one thing your affiliate does best.

When you have built a brand that excels at what your customers want and have surrounded yourself with other strong brands, you maximize the brand experience while remaining true to your unique promise of value.

Some companies and organizations are excellent at building these valuable connections. This is not co-branding—sharing a product or service with two brand names. It is connecting your brand to another brand to bolster your differentiation, expand your brand attributes or increase your visibility. This advances your brand building and nurturing activities.

Bolster your brand

When your brand is highly differentiated from your peers' or competitors', it is important to fortify that differentiation through all of your brand affiliations. Some companies are exceptional at creating these kinds of reinforcing connections with similar brands.

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image of William Arruda

William Arruda is a personal branding pioneer, the founder and CEO of Reach Personal Branding, and the author of Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives.

Twitter: @williamarruda

LinkedIn: William Arruda