Bad brands burn businesses

That's a lot of B words, but it's an alliteration worth remembering just the same, because, done well, the B word is your greatest ally. Done badly, it's your worst enemy. Yep, your business survives or falls on branding.

So let's start with the fundamentals – is your business or product name the correct one?

Does it push all the right buttons with your target market? Is your logo eye catching and appealing? The best way to find that out is to ask.

Researching a small sample of the very people you are trying to reach is an inexpensive way to ensure your brand is saying all the right things.

And remember, branding is about differentiation… what is it that sets you apart? Branding isn't about you, it's about them. It's about getting your prospects to choose you over your competition, to see you as the only solution to their problem.

If the branding is wrong, everything else will be too.

Good brands make confident and concise statements that deliver on the promises they make; they project credibility and strike an emotional chord. Good brands stimulate action and foster loyalty – if consumers feel comfortable with your brand and genuinely believe your claims, they are far more likely to deal with you.

And the very best brands offer customers a positive, consistent total experience that is unique and compelling and that not only opens hearts, but wallets.