Mention the word "branding" to the CEO or chief lieutenant in your marketing department and it might conjure up feelings of frustration or fatigue.

And this isn't necessarily surprising when you consider that the word "branding" has been over-discussed, beaten to death and at times even cursed, especially in those cases where a company travels down the path to brand or rebrand itself to an inconclusive end.

The primary reason many brand-development initiatives fail is somewhat easy to explain: Too many companies approach brand development in strikingly similar ways and consequently flounder in puddles of modest results. Read on.