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Branding - That's Just For Big Businesses, Right?

In my experience I have found that small businesses do not “get” branding while very large businesses think about little else.

brandAt what point does a business get serious about its brand(s)? Does a business become big because it shifts its focus to building a brand (or brands) or is the whole concept of a “brand” something every business should start with?

What is a Brand Anyway?

Wikipedia contains a key sentence on the subject for me… “(A brand is) the personality that identifies a product, service or company (name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or combination of them) and how it relates to key constituencies: customers, staff, partners, investors etc.”

The key words in this sentence are, I believe, the words “personality” and “relates”.

Brand Personality

When a business is run by one person, the business has that person’s personality by default. When the business grows beyond more than one person a corporate personality has to be established and this represents a commitment by all concerned to communicate this single personality in everything the business does, from communication through to after sales service.

The more your team agrees every aspect of how the business behaves and delivers everything it does from marketing messages through to customer experiences to an agreed consistently high standard, the better your brand.

How well this is done can make a huge difference to business performance. Doing branding well means that your target audience will:

  • Be more aware of your company
  • Better understand your products and services
  • Believe your marketing messages
  • Find your products and services better aligned to their needs
  • Be proud to be associated with your business and recommend you more.

…all of which means that you have built a real, fiscal value in your brand.

In considering branding, here are some questions that small businesses need to ask themselves …

  • Is the market you operate in crowded or do you have it to yourself? (I bet I know your answer…)
  • If it is crowded, then how do your potential customers choose one product, or service from another?
  • Is that decision made scientifically or emotionally?

Contrary to popular belief, almost all decisions humans make are made emotionally, even critical business decisions. Nobody has time these days to research all the possible options. We live in a “noisy” world and we are constantly bombarded with too many advertising messages so we are likely to make a decision about which option we choose based on a message that speaks to us in a way we understand, one that looks like it might be in our price bracket and one that seems to offer a result – a feeling if you like – we are after.

Therefore, we need to make our product or service emotionally attractive to an audience; a specific audience, in a specific way.

Brand “Relatability”

Can one brand appeal to every person on the planet? Unlikely I would suggest. Rather, branding starts with deeply understanding a specific type of customer and becomes more effective the more specific you are. The more you understand their world, problems, issues and language. Only then can a brand be truly effective in its communications:

Is it what the brand says about itself – the words it uses or the claims it makes?
Is it the colours, design and logo it chooses?
Is it the degree to which we believe and trust the product or service on offer?

I would argue that a brand is about the way an organisation behaves in every respect. As my good friend and branding guru Ross Thornley says, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and barks like a dog, the brand doesn’t work….”

For more information on all the latest branding solutions, why not get in touch with digital marketing agencyIntergage on 0845 456 1022 and see how we can help you.

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