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Brand You

Expert tips on building your company's MVP

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This story appears in the April 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

One of the most valuable assets in all of business isn't a building, a technology or a bank account. It's the combination of words, images and feelings that evokes Coca-Cola. The world's most valuable brand, worth $67 billion, belongs to the Atlanta beverage goliath, according to Interbrand, a New York City marketing company. Entrepreneurs can expand their businesses with the help of brands if they follow the tried-and-true rules of brand building.

1. Be different. Michael Sands co-founded Lesser-Evil Brand Snack Co. in Tuckahoe, New York, because he thought no one in the snack industry was providing flavorful food that was also good for consumers. "We wanted to be a brand that stood for gourmet taste first and health second," says Sands, 42. With a "Stop bad snacking!" motto that prods competitors while comforting Snackers, Sands has built his 12-person company to $1.4 million in annual sales in less than three years.

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