Business

Branding: It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

We all know a local business in our area that just stands out, head and shoulders above the rest. They’re the business that always seem to have people queuing out of the door. And they seem never to struggle with attracting customers. At the same time, we know many businesses that always seems to be empty, no matter how many sales they put on.

As business people, we want to be more like the former and less like the latter. But how? Even big companies seem to struggle with this question. Take the tech supergiant, Samsung, for example. Here is a highly competent company with its fingers in many pies. It’s one of the biggest companies, at least concerning revenue, on Earth. And yet, when you drill down into the figures, what do you discover? It’s not actually all that profitable.

Low profitability certainly isn’t a feature of the electronics industry in general. After all, rival Apple is one of the most profitable companies in the world. So what’s driving the difference here? The answer is branding. Samsung, for all its expertise, has never quite managed to connect with customers in the way that Apple has. As a result, it has to compete by producing more expensive products. And that means that it’s less profitable than Apple products with the might of the Apple brand behind them.

So what about the little guys? What can they do to improve their brands? Well, they do have a significant advantage over bigger companies on this front. Smaller companies are a lot easier to control. And so it’s far simpler to develop and protect any brand that you generate – at least in the beginning. In small businesses, there’s no need for a brand rulebook. New enterprises can adapt on the fly to new circumstances and protect their brand with leadership at the top.

Having said this, not all small businesses have been successful with branding. Why? What are they getting wrong and what can they do about it?

They’re Not Thinking About Their Brand

The most successful small businesses almost always have some kind of central brand message. The local deli near you might have a brand that says that it stands for quality. Or it might be that it stands for bringing back old-fashioned eats from the past. Or it could be that it sees itself as a place that you go for the most special of occasions. Whatever it is, there’s something about it that makes it the place to go, above all other offerings.

But often, business owners don’t think in depth about their brands. Instead, they’re too busy fussing about the day-to-day minutiae of running a business. Getting bogged down in invoices and social media marketing can distract you from your real branding goals. And often that can mean you’re really missing out. It’s a good idea, therefore, to step back from the chores of running a business every now and again and think about brand direction. Talk to your customers and ask them how they see your business and what they would like it to stand for. Let your client’s imagination drive your brand forwards.

They Think They Can Buy A Brand

If buying an exciting brand was possible, Samsung would have done it years ago. Unfortunately, you can’t spend your way to an amazing brand. You have to grow one. No amount of adverts and tweets are going to create that sense of magic in the minds of your customers.

So what can you do? First of all, make sure that you’re providing your clients with an amazing experience. This will help to generate some mystique around your company. You also want to make sure that your advertising is ideas, not product, focused. Focus on the experience your service generates rather than the nitty gritty of the product details. The reason for doing this is that branding is fundamentally about stories. Your company’s brand is the story that customers tell themselves when they think about what it is that you do.

They Don’t Accessorize

Branding has always been something of an enigma. But the truth is that it is a lot more process oriented than you might imagine. One of the keys to successful branding is being consistent in presentation. It’s essential that your business has a recognisable visual image supporting its message. One way to do this is by branding all your corporate paraphernalia with your company logo. It’s the sort of thing that Apple does all the time at shows and events. But thanks to sites like dynamicgift.com.au/lanyards, it’s now accessible to all small businesses.

They Don’t Communicate Brand Values

A brand might have a unique personality, but a company certainly doesn’t. The inside of any large company is often very different to its perception on the outside. And, as explained by entrepreneur.com, that represents a threat to the brand.

One of the biggest threats comes from the employees themselves. Employees can often get the wrong end of the stick when it comes to brand direction. And this can severely hamper the perception of our business among the public. That’s why it’s so important that management regularly communicates with employees about brand direction.

They Forget About The Novelty Factor

Apple is still one of the most successful brands in the world. But at the moment, the appeal of the brand is waning. It’s now over six years since we got a groundbreaking product from the company. And suddenly Apple doesn’t seem as exciting as it once was. The last really game changing product they released was the iPhone, the world’s first smartphone back in 2007. Ever since then, the question has been: what will Apple do next? The fact that we’re still waiting for an answer isn’t good news for the Apple brand.

So what’s the solution? Companies should try to innovate and do something new every six months to a year. It doesn’t have to be revolutionary. But it should be something that few, if any, of your competitors, are doing.

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elliott

elliott

Ive been blogging now for 5 years on various sites for the love of knowledge share. I decided to start my own blog a few years back to share everything from tech to business news. Follow me on twitter for more.