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What does it mean to have a hardworking brand?

Lindsay Says

One of my favorite lenses through which we analyze a brand is the “Is it hardworking?” lens.

You want a brand that is solid enough to rely on, now and into the future. When you have the best possible brand positioning for your business – and you infuse it into every expression of your service or product – you are set up to succeed, and you can grow your business with intention, clarity and focus.

Take a look at the brand strategy you’re considering before you unleash it, and evaluate it through this lens. Or if you’re not sure whether your existing brand strategy needs an overhaul, ask yourself if it meets the hardworking challenge.

Which set of attributes does your brand fall into: hardworking, or not?

If your brand is not hardworking:

  • It's not focused on an advantage that’s ownable. If you can’t own it, you can’t make hay from it.
  • It has low ROI. You put lots of money into it, but you’re not seeing the proper return.
  • It’s not meaningful to your customer.
  • It’s a fluffy idea, and isn’t upheld by anything concrete.
  • Customers in your market don’t know about your brand or don’t embrace it, so you’re not having an impact.
  • Those in your company don’t know what they’re supposed to be charging towards, so their morale is low.
  • Customers don’t remember it or pass word of it to others.
  • You create things that are easy to copy; you’re a commodity so you have to engage in price wars.
  • You fall in love with your bells and whistles while your competitors take the meaningful spots.
  • You’re inconsistent, which means less consumer trust.
  • You’re resting on features rather than customer benefits.
  • You’re leaning into something that’s table stakes, rather than distinctive.
  • Your promise is vague, rather than specific.

If your brand is hardworking:

  • It’s big enough to achieve your business objectives.
  • It’s meaningful enough to customers that they’ll be motivated to try your product.
  • It allows you lateral span, thus you can expand into other categories.
  • It’s unwavering.
  • It shows conviction.
  • It follows all six of Lindsay’s laws, and thus is impossible to copy.
  • It promises and delivers a benefit rather than a product or service.
  • It’s ownable, which means it’s a promise only you can bring.
  • It’s sharp-edged and specific, so customers readily grasp it.
  • It’s honest, credible, and demonstrably true.
  • It’s high-margin – almost without limit on margin – therefore you’re highly profitable.
  • You've set the conditions to become a brand that’s ironclad.
  • You’re consistent, and consistency creates trust.
  • You’re untouchable.

If your brand positioning strategy passes the hardworking test, congratulations. And never take it for granted. Nurture it and cultivate it as you would any other competitive advantage.

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