You need to be in the Eye of the Beholder

Brand identity is more than a name, it is the entire perception of who we are, and it is measured not by us, but by our customers or clients.

Actually, we can only express what we think our identity is, but it is the perception of our clients and customers that make the brand identity. Ask your clients and customers to describe what it is that you provide. In Brand and Deliver, Max Carey asks that you think of your brand as occupying a place on a shelf in your customers mind. There are only a few spaces available on the shelf for each product or service within your category. Your challenge is to place yourself on a shelf appropriate to your product. Frequently, that can mean dislodging someone that is already on the shelf. That can be hard to do, costly, and take time.

Another, somewhat easier way to get on your prospects shelf is to create a new category, initially with shelf space just for you. You will be recognized for your special value, albeit, soon there-after others will follow suit.

However, you will have ownership of the category as the originator.

Developing Your Brand
Developing you brand revolves around one to three areas of branding:
Personal Brand
Product or Service Brand
Market Brand

Personal Brand is based on appearance, both physical and perceived expertise. Think of the IBM blue of the past; technical expertise packaged in a white shirt, red tie, and blue suit.

Product or Service Brands focus on the specialty that you bring to your overall category. Think Mary Kay, which conveniently brings cosmetics and education to the home, but delivers beauty for the customer. Another example is ADP which could not compete with EDS but focused on Automated Data Payroll Accounting to successfully differentiate itself.

Market Branding is the most common and general in approach. It is one that almost all of us use, and seems lucrative, but remember, customers are looking for solutions that are going to fit neatly on their mental shelf. Market branding requires that you provide specific features and benefits to differentiate yourself.

The highest degree of branding effectiveness occurs when you match your specialized product or service to a specialized market.