Branding your company like cattle on a ranch

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Q. In an increasingly competitive market, how can I set myself apart from my competition and increase my market share?
A. This is a challenge facing virtually all companies today--how do you demonstrate what makes you unique in an increasingly crowded field of competitors?
In marketing lingo, we call this topic branding. Branding your company is not unlike branding cattle out on the ranch--you're distinguishing yourself from the herd with a unique characteristic, product or service that's appealing to potential customers.
This unique characteristic may already exist in your company, or it may require adding a new service or tweaking an existing one to give you a leg up on your competition. Start with some research:
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. Survey your referral sources, patients and their caregivers to determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Determine why current customers stay and why former customers left.
- Study your competition. Evaluate your competition's strengths and weaknesses, and compare them to your own to see where the opportunities lie.
- Understand the needs of your target market. One of the best ways to distinguish yourself is to find a need your customers have that is currently going unmet and fill it.
- Look for examples. All new ideas are simply old ideas combined in a new way, so be constantly on the lookout for branding "role models" all around you.
With this wealth of information at your disposal, sit down with your key staff and/or trusted advisers to brainstorm opportunities to create a distinctive brand for your company. Once you've arrived at your brand, you must make it the central and consistent focus of all of your marketing efforts.
Want to learn more about branding? I recommend "The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding" by Al Ries and Laura Ries. hme


Jennifer Keirn is the director of marketing communications for Roscoe Medical. Reach her at (440) 572-1962 or