If you've read any books or articles by branding gurus, they've likely suggested that businesses need to identify what it is that differentiates their brand—what makes it unique and valuable to current and prospective customers. That is an important first step in the branding process.
The problem, however, is that the majority of businesses struggle with the task; they aren't able to easily identify what makes their brands valuable. They end up with generic, vague statements about "superior customer service" and "high-quality products."
Those businesses, branding experts suggest, have a branding problem. And the solution they typically recommend is to go back to the drawing board and take another stab at identifying the brand's differentiating quality.
That's where the conventional wisdom is wrong. If you struggle to find answers to "the question," and if, in fact, several unique brand attributes aren't all bubbling to the surface vying to be the No. 1 attribute, then you don't have a branding problem, you have a business problem.
It's your business—not the brand—that isn't offering anything of unique value, which leads me to the most important "law" of what I term "organic branding."
1. A great brand must start with a great company that offers great products and services
Yes, I said it. A company's products and services and the way the company delivers those services are more important than the brand and how that brand is marketed.
Urging companies that aren't "great" to develop a compelling brand reminds me of the old saying about putting lipstick on a pig. Such companies are commodities, and trying to brand a commodity is an uphill battle. Those businesses first have to fix what it is that they're offering the consumer.