Subscribe in a reader

Let's start with numero uno.  Trust. Here's the deal. You earn trust. You don't sell it. All brands are based on a promise. I trust Tide detergent to clean my clothes. I trust Apple to give me the best technology experience on the planet. If your team is compelled to literally list "trust" as a corporate brand attribute, your organization is most likely trying to compensate for something that is missing from  a.) your value proposition or b.) your brand experience. 

Number two. Innovative. Who doesn't want to make this claim? And yet, many companies that tend to go for this, well, aren't. In order to be credible in this arena you have to be able to literally show the market what you mean by making the claim. Specificity is critical as is buy-in on this by customers and employees.  If not, your strategy is headed straight to the brand grave yard where it will whither and die on the vine.

Number three and four. Integrity and ethical. Should be a given in my opinion; however, there is one exception to this and that is in the case of an organization working toward re-establishing its corporate reputation. In that type of scenario in which an organization is attempting to root out corporate malfeasance then it is worth adding it to the mix. Otherwise, it is expected to be intrinsically part of the  equation. 

And finally number five. Customer-focused (or driven or centric). I dunno. Seems kind of pointless in today's hyper-competitive market place. Either you are or you aren't. And if you're not you'd better figure it out pretty darn quick because a competitor is going to eat your lunch. In the era of price transparency and rapid commoditization, being customer-driven is a requisite for growth. 

As with any well-articulated brand strategy, the key to establishing meaningful differentiation is the organization's ability is to avoid cliche attributes, and instead carve out its own unique brand recipe that the entire organization can live up to.