The goal of any branding project is for the brand to become the leader in its category. The category leader could be defined in many ways (number one brand in terms of quality, customer service, warranty, distribution), but in most cases it is the best-selling brand.

Managing the market leader motivates, inspires and rewards. Being the best-selling brand usually translates into enough resources to continue building that brand and defend its leadership position. Because this is the single objective of a market leader’s strategy: defend the number cheaphostingforum one position by meeting the points of parity in your category and promoting the elements that make the brand different.

So how should a market leader “behave” in its relationship with customers and competitors? Below are some suggestions:

Communicate the fact that you are a market leader. Positioning as a leader in the category is a very strong one. People feel confident dealing with the leader, because they think that you must have done something right to get there. Make sure you communicate the fact that you are number one on your communication materials including packaging, merchandising, invoices, website. Your integrated marketing campaigns should also promote this status.

Defend your leadership position. Your competitors will try to attack you in any way they can. Your primary focus should be on protecting the leadership position. That means that you have to respond to your competitor’s moves and meet the points of parity in your industry, because you now have the resources to do so. If one competitor decides to lower the prices you should follow suit, and if they are coming up with a new product make sure you have something similar available soon.

Invest in innovation. Your customers will have higher expectations from you, the category leader. Ideally you will be the first to introduce innovative products and services and create new categories. Apple is the leader in portable music devices with the iPod and created a new category of tablet devices with the iPad.

Educate the market. A category leader is responsible for setting the market trends and helping the consumer make informed decisions. Your brand should not only be number one in terms of sales but also the most respected brand in terms of knowledge and leadership.

One more thing: brand confusion always favors the leader. If you are lucky to have competitors that don’t stand out for anything you will end up winning the battle.

My name is Michael, a Toronto-based Professional Certified Marketer™. I am the publisher of BrandUniq, the Marketing and Brand Management blog that offers strategic advice on how to build strong and differentiated brands.