What does beer and cheese have to do with branding?

Last weekend, I visited Milwaukee for my friend’s bachelorette party. I had never visited the city before and had no idea what to expect…except for beer and cheese. Although is much more to Milwaukee than those things, it did give me a frame of reference about what the city is known for and what to expect when visiting.

Beer and cheese is part of Milwaukee’s brand. It’s reinforced throughout the airport with the abundance of cheeseheads and beer t-shirts. The restaurants carry local beers and their baseball team is even called the Brewers.

This pattern holds true for a lot of cities. Nashville is known for country music. With Las Vegas, you think of casinos. In New Orleans, it’s all about jazz and Bourbon street.

Cities compete for dollars just like businesses do. That’s why it’s so important for them to differentiate themselves. And, a strong branding strategy does just that.

Your brand should articulate what you’re about and why people should choose your business. If you’re not sure what your brand says about you, talk to your customers and employees. Ask what makes your business stand out from the crowd or what they enjoy most about working with you. Chances are, it’s not what you think.

Once you have a clear understanding of your brand message, it’s important to emphasize that consistently throughout your company – on your website and sales materials and with your entire staff. It will help your customers and prospects know what to expect when working with you.

When it comes to your brand, what are you known for? And, what does it say about your business?

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Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

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