The Big “B” in Branding For Small Businesses
Over three decades of working with small and midsized companies, I have seen amazing products and services and conversely, little to no understanding of the value garnered by building a brand. Many tend to link “brand” to consumer goods like Coke, Lay’s, Stanley Black & Decker and so on, but never see it as something they need to develop and nurture.
Secondly, they tend to view branding based on large budget marketing and advertising. To say that budget is not important is untrue. However, the notion that huge amounts of money are required is also untrue.
A company with a brand uniqueness and presence attracts new customers, and cements retention of current customers.
Being perceived as a generic company puts you in price judgment
Because there is no real value difference in what you offer, the prospect can only judge you on price. You can’t possibly want that! Creating a brand is not at all for large companies only. It is a requirement for sustainability in small business growth.
For any small business, the basic components of brand building are largely based on the following:
- Superiority / uniqueness of product/service
- Customer service
- Customer loyalty
- Smart and effective internal marketing (Your company culture) *
- Effective external marketing / Clarity of message
- Clear definition of your value difference
- Powerfully convey what your business stands for and how you deliver it
*Only 40 percent of employees know what their organization stands for and what makes it different from competitors.
If you, as a business leader, along with your employees don’t know what makes your company unique, how will your prospective customers know?
They won’t know
No uniqueness means generic which means commodity which means which company has the best price! Small business owners need to develop their companies into authentic brands that hold a true distinct and differentiated position which other companies are unable to provide because it delivers a strong reputation, an engaged culture and replicable customer experience.
Otherwise, you’re simply another form of vanilla ice cream on a big board of generic options.
Far too many small business owners seem to be either intimidated by the notion of brand, or they believe it takes huge sums of money to achieve. Both are untrue.
Small business drives our economy
There are multiple thousands of small companies all around us. I had coffee at a small café recently and this photo shows one of the interior walls—this image is one you have viewed many, many times.
This wall shows the diversity of businesses products and services available. You’ll find thousands of pin boards like this across the country, and yet almost none of the business cards differentiate themselves from the others.