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Like people, brands must be confident to succeed and leave a legacy behind. Just as a lack of self-confidence leads to poor results in life, which fuels lower self-esteem and confidence, brands that do not appear to be confident will lead to such a vicious circle.

What is brand confidence?

Brand confidence is the perception that a brand’s target audience would have about the state of affairs, the capabilities and ultimately the trust worthiness of that brand.

In other words, how your brand appears to your target market determines how much they trust you with their business and custom. This is not to be confused with “brand arrogance” that many of the superbrands exhibit with their noise and market saturation. Brand confidence here refers to the subtle yet powerful nature of how quietly confident your brand is in itself.

How do you determine if your brand is confident enough?

Ask yourself these simple questions about your brand:

1) Is the brand active or reactive? – Does your brand react to situations and market conditions and then change its behavior to be aligned with those situations, or is it proactive and “goes to where the puck will be” – assessing situations and forecasting possible scenarios and then preparing for them before they happen?

2) Does the brand look professional and trustworthy? – Looking at the part is one of the most fundamental yet grossly overlooked aspects of any brand. Does your brand look like a million dollars? Does it carry itself confidently and show that it cares about its image?

3) Is the brand consistent in its brand messaging? – Does your brand have a core message broadcasted consistently across all channels? Or does it only look like it is in business to make money and does not care about anything else?

4) Does your brand meet the minimum market needs and requirements – e.g., quality, reliability, price, delivery, support, features, etc., and provide extra benefits for added satisfaction?

5) Do consumers convey positive emotional and cultural values and beliefs about your brand? – How are customer interactions – both good and evil? How are they handled? What is your brand attitude toward unhappy customers? Where does the buck stop?

6) Does your brand completely understand the brand promise you deliver to your customers? – Have you ever identified your brand promise? Has that been articulated and then integrated into your messaging? Are your customers aware of this promise, or are they making assumptions about it and, in turn, setting their expectations accordingly?

7) Does your brand understand existing or potential brand opportunities, and have you capitalized on them? – What mechanism does your brand have to proactively seek out, identify, and approach opportunities?

8) Can your brand objectives be summarized in a simple yet informative brand mission statement? – Having a comprehensive mission statement cannot be stressed enough. What many may consider an expense or unnecessary overhead (time, effort, and money spent in developing the mission statement) is, in fact, an investment in your brand – one that will mean the difference between a confident brand and one that is an amateur!

9) Does the brand recognize what customers value most in other/alternative products with which your brand competes? – Awareness of the “emotional drive” that motivates customers to your competition is quite different from looking at your competition’s marketing campaigns, product or service offerings, and pricing structure. Emotional motivation knowledge is critical to success.

10) Does your company remain committed to investing adequately in organizational capabilities critical to delivering against our brand’s long-term promise? – Investing in innovation and continual improvement is critical to the longevity of your brand and for assured long-term success. Are you investing enough in the future?

Does Your Brand Have a Beachhead Strategy?

The term beachhead strategy is coined from a military strategy that advocates that as you advance into enemy territory, you plan and focus all your time and resources on winning a small strategic border area which then becomes the stronghold from which to advance into the territory.

That small strategic border area is the beachhead. It was also a word that was made popular by Geoffrey Moore in his book “Crossing The Chasm”.

When entering a new market, it is critical to have a beachhead strategy. However, it is also critical that you plan for the bigger invasion – the big picture called the brand strategy.

Most startups either have a stand alone beachhead strategy or they have an ambitious and often unrealistic looking larger plan for dominating the market segment.

Most startups either have a stand alone beachhead strategy or they have an ambitious and often unrealistic looking larger plan for dominating the market segment.

Both these approaches by themselves are too risky. But a combination will yield great results as shown by some of the leading brands such as. If you are new to branding then I suggest you follow this step by step guide first.

This is true for any kind of startup – even a non-profit organization. Recently I was the lead strategist on a charity venture project where the client had a grand vision of where the organization should be and how it could change the world.

However what they lacked was the path to getting there.

I created a beachhead strategy and combined it with a robust brand vision to create an overall brand strategy that would ensure the venture reaches it’s potential.

To continue the case of this non-profit venture, the beachhead strategy involved coming up with a series of corporate sponsorship programs that would create a platform on which to build the drive to attract the general public to get involve and donate to the charity.

Putting it like that, it may not appear to be a game changing strategy and perhaps might look a little obvious.

Entrepreneurs are always attracted to the wrong strategy or tactic; much like moths to a lightbulb.

But that is what happens with startups all the time – the obvious is never done! Entrepreneurs are always attracted to the wrong strategy or tactic; much like moths to a lightbulb. More often than not, we see time, branding resources and money poured into ineffective strategies that may make the stake holders feel great but do nothing for the startup and the bottomline.

If you are trying to launch a clothing or fashion startup. Then stop looking at what industry trend setters such as Net-A-Porter or American Apparel is doing and instead focus on a beachhead strategy that would allow you a small but strong foothold into the market from which to launch your next wave of invasion.

If you plan to sell bespoke tailored shirts that fit perfectly then stop focusing on trying to sell the shirts to everybody and instead create an exclusive club with invite only entry.

If you are planning on launching an app that helps writers, then stop trying to sell the app to all writers and instead focus on a single writer persona that you can easily reach. This buyer persona may be a very tiny fraction of the market but it may be one that enables you start building a tribe!

These examples may be quite vague but I am simply trying to illustrate the importance of a beachhead strategy and not actually offering strategies that you can implement in your startup. That may for a different series of articles that I will do down the line.

Let me know your thoughts on beachhead strategy and share your story if you have seen success with such strategies.

Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & CEO of SpellBrand. Since 1998, Mash has helped conscious brands differentiate themselves and AWAKEN through Brand Strategy and Brand Identity Design. Schedule a Brand Strategy Video Call with Mash.