You Cannot Brand Your Business in a Vacuum


Branding is something you must do with your eyes looking forward, behind you and side-to-side at the competition, customers, partners and other industry forces. While your brand does describe the essence of your business and your solutions, it must be based largely on carving out differentiation in the marketplace you are playing in. You may claim to have the fastest widgets in the industry and base your branding largely on that fact. Well, what happens when your competition trumps you with something even faster? You’re entire brand essence is shattered. After all, you would no longer be the fastest.

When creating and refining a brand, it is imperative to keep an eye on the market and your competition so you don’t wind up like the example above. A good rule of thumb I’ve used in the past is to look at your top three competitors’ websites at least once a week to see what news they are coming out with, what new messaging they are using and so on. Also visit the website of the main publication that covers your industry once a week. This will help you keep your eye on key developments in the marketplace and allow you to keep your branding viable and differentiating.

Should something happen in the industry to affect your positioning, you certainly want to know about it as soon as possible. Although seven days (time between your researching other sites and key industry publication) would seem like a long time should this happen, it is certainly better than never knowing! We all know small business owners don’t have much free time in the first few years of business. Finding time to keep tabs on the happenings around us can seem like something that can be put aside and only visited if time allows. But trust me, I’ve seen it happen many times before where a company takes their eye off the ball and learns about a competitor’s better product (for example) from one of its own customers. By then, it is simply too late!

By Kevin B. Levi


  1. Very good article. It is so true about losing sight of your goals and your competition is right on your heels.