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Recipe for a Brand

Branding creates perceived product differences that can be worth paying more for. Branding can also create strong emotional connections that increase customer loyalty and make it easier to launch new products under the same brand family.

1. For turnip's sake, research your market.

Nearly half of new businesses fail because there's no demand for their products or services.
Research into your market reduces your risk. Established businesses need to re-evaluate market demand on an ongoing basis. Even industry leaders can get into trouble if they don't update their data. Research is the only way marketers can double-check their assumptions and verify they are on the right track. A brand without research is  storytelling without substance. Review what's included in good branding research.

2. Understand your value.

Positioning establishes your value or worth to a target customer who may have other choices.
Positioning is usually crafted as: "X is the only product/service in (category) that delivers (benefits) to (target audience) because (reasons to believe)." Value is not always obvious. Apple guessed that people would value beauty in technology long before consumers asked for it. 

3. Have brand salience. 

If people don't consider you, they won't buy you.
Brand salience is the quality of being top of mind when consumers are in a buying moment. Connecting your brand to memory triggers and emotions makes it more likely that you'll be remembered and chosen. Brand salience is one of the key factors in the power of branding.

4. Understand your industry.

All brands deal with changing market forces that impact consumer perceptions. Brands need to stay ahead of trends and anticipate market threats. For example, the health movement blames sugary sodas and snacks for America's obesity epidemic. Soft drink consumption in the U.S. is declining while demand for flavored waters and juices is rising.

5. Know your competitors.

The competitive landscape constantly evolves in new directions. 
The modern food industry is shifting to clean, ethical eating. La Croix has led skyrocketing demand for flavored waters. Craft sodas are providing quality alternatives to traditional soft drinks. In 2016, demand for sugary sodas fell almost 1% but craft soda sales grew 5%. Craft sodas appeal to millennials, who want to be identified with new brands. Craft sodas are expensive but have less sugar and offer interesting flavors like lavender.

6. Finally, document it.

Brand guidelines document the creative elements of a brand for content writers, designers and developers, and brand managers. 
Your brand identity includes your brand voice (writing style) and visual identity (logo, fonts, colors, icons). Brand guidelines ensure brand consistency.
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