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It’s time-tested advice that’s simple in premise but not always practiced. Actually, it’s difficult to count the number of times a company or product we’re working with wants to be positioned as something they’re not—usually it’s the opposite.

Brand is intrinsic. It comes from who you are—not who you aspire to be. You may wish you were a truly innovative company, but competitors regularly beat you to market. What you are, though, is steadfastly reliable. Instead of pretending to be something you’re not, celebrate that steadfast reliability. Embrace it. Live it. It’s where your meaningful differentiation can be found.

Don’t let competitors define who are you by trying to emulate them. Look inward and determine your distinguishing qualities—your brand essence—and make it your selling point and your rallying cry.

Your brand essence goes hand-in-hand with your values—they are intrinsic to you, which is why they will provide a more genuine connection to your customers. To quote Will Shakespeare, “To thine own self be true.” Be yourself, and stay true to the attributes that define you.

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