Find out exactly who your consumer target is, about the competition and the market. You will need this information when you decide how to position your brand, whom to aim it at and how to communicate.
Find a positioning that you can own - it must be unique and differentiated. Avoid a 'me too'-positioning - instead, find some 'white space' that is yet unclaimed. Make it your own. And make sure it's relevant to your consumer target.
Consumers hate to be confused. Once you have found your positioning, stick to it, don't change it unnecessarily.
Go through all opportunities where your consumer touches the brand - there may be more than you think. Don't confine branding to the marketing department; finance, recruiting - they are all influenced by your brand positioning and should manage their departments 'on brand'.
Every one of your staff is a brand ambassador for your brand. Make sure they understand what your brand stands for - and that they believe in it. Engage your internal audience before you talk to external audiences.
Your brand determines not only what you communicate - also how. Think about what your brand stands for - and how that translates into use of media, into tone and manner of your communication. Are you serious or funny? Modern or conservative? Your choice of communication channels also determines how people see your brand.
These days, consumers are emancipated and have a - often critical - voice. Engage them. Be honest. And be ready to answer when they ask about how you treat your staff or the environment. More and more consumers will want to know.
The best way to lead is - by example. Make sure that you personify the brand and what it stands for. Show your staff how you want them to behave. If the brand carried your name, how would that make you feel? Act accordingly.