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Branding Rule: Look In the Mirror

2014 Branding Rules eBookThis post is an excerpt of our Branding Rules eBook.

Branding means so many things to different people that it has become nebulous. It’s called the “secret sauce” of marketing, but what does that mean?

“Secret sauce” might mean sriracha to some, Tabasco to others, or the intangible and often unidentifiable ingredient that we all seek and/or covet.

We cleared the confusion by gathering 14 branding experts and asked them a question: “If you could impart only one piece of advice about branding, what would it be?”

We compiled the results, added illustrations by Gapingvoid’s Hugh MacLeod, and created the 2014 Branding Rules eBook to provide a resource filled with timeless advice to guide your business’s branding efforts.

Here is advice from C.C. Chapman, the CMO of YSN, a platform that connects and engages young people from around the world.

Branding Rule - CC Chapman

C.C. Chapman, author of “Amazing Things Will Happen,” says something similar but adds that businesses shouldn’t focus too much on what their competitors are doing. Businesses have to spend more time concentrating on themselves, their opportunities, their issues and their own house.

Stop looking out the window. Start looking in the mirror.

The biggest branding mistake I see is assuming that because others are doing it, that you need to do it too. For instance, every year around the big game, brands try to be something they are not with their big commercials. Customers don’t like it and brands are damaged by it.

Your branding shows who you are. It can’t be faked or photocopied off of someone else. Of course you need to look out and keep an eye on what your competitors and others are doing, but take more time to look in the mirror. Ensure everything you are creating and sharing shows the image that you see when you look inward at your company.

The view out the window may appear greener than at your own feet, but at the end of the day, remembering who you are and what you really are all about is the best option for you. Your brand has to be yours. No filter is ever going to make you something that you are not.

Want more branding advice? Get your free copy of the Branding Rules eBook now!

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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