A strong brand differentiates your company from competitors, conveys the highest value you deliver, and serves as an implicit promise to your clients of what your organization stands for.

But what’s the difference between a good brand and a truly great one? Here are three factors that separate the best brands from the rest, and examples of marketers who are using these factors to set the bar for branding success.

  1. A clear identity: The marketer’s brand stands for something unique to the client, something clearly different from any other competitor in the company’s marketplace. What Apple and Mercedes-Benz represent, for example, is so distinctly different that no competitor can match them.
  2. Trust: The client trusts that what the marketer says is true, because the client knows from experience they can believe what the marketer tells them. When you ship with FedEx, your package will arrive on time. When you buy from L.L. Bean, the product is guaranteed for your entire life.
  3. Value: The brand delivers something the client wants, needs, and appreciates, and the client believes they get a fair deal for their money. Target sells consumer products of very high quality at modest prices. Tiffany clients pay top dollar for jewelry, but the value of a Tiffany’s piece, from the quality of the product to the beauty of the distinctive blue package, is perceived to be worth the investment.

You don’t have to be a FORTUNE(R) 500 company to do branding well. Any company can use these same six factors to create a unique, memorable, and meaningful identity that establishes an effective presence in the marketplace.

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Jean M. Gianfagna is a marketing strategy expert and the founder and president of Gianfagna Strategic Marketing which provides marketing strategy and creative services to leading business-to-business and consumer marketers. Read her blog for more marketing tips at http://www.gianfagnamarketing.com/blog.