What comes to mind when you hear the word “branding”? A logo? A color? A catchphrase?

What should come to mind is a specific, unique position—something the product or service represents, or stands for.

Branding is the single best way to eliminate competition because, when it’s done well, you become a category of one. (There are lots of places to buy shoes, for example, but only one Zappos.)

A brand can be built around low prices, as Walmart and Ikea have done. But most high-tech companies would be better served to focus on something else…performance, yield improvement, durability, exceptional customer service. What do you do really well?

Trying to be all things to all people—“We offer the best quality at the lowest prices!”—is foolhardy. Frankly, it defies belief. How could you legitimately be great at everything? It’s a claim that invites well-deserved skepticism.

To build a strong brand, you need to thoroughly understand—and communicate—your unique strengths. Now, I’m not going to pretend that this is easy. It’s much easier to hire someone to design a snazzy logo or write a witty catchphrase. But a meaningful, resonant brand is worth its weight in gold. And it pays dividends for as long as you’re in business.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll delve deeper into branding and positioning, so stay tuned.