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Saving the Day

Does your brand need triage? Here's something to help.

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This story appears in the September 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's great to have a strong brand customers love and are happy to pay a premium for, but when a brand gets overextended, underadvertised, overpriced or develops other problems, few entrepreneurs know what to do. In Brand Aid (Amacom, $24), author and marketing consultant Brad VanAuken goes a long way toward remedying these problems. VanAuken, a veteran who has done stints with Hallmark and other redoubtable branders, covers scores of brand-related topics, including designing a brand, building it, leveraging it and measuring its success.

Some of his more entrepreneur-relevant material tells how to make a brand stand out using limited resources. Smaller companies usually don't do it like the big guys, VanAuken says. Instead of consistently, steadily and expensively trumpeting a leadership message (the preferred method of big branding outfits), entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed with focused, disruptive techniques. Typically, this means concentrating on a core niche and taking a bold marketing stand that attempts to redefine the category by using nontraditional marketing approaches. VanAuken, it should be noted, has gone the big-company route in attempting to position his reference book. It may not be a mind-altering breakthrough, but overall, it's a significant addition to the brand marketing library.

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